In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
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Ann Charney was born in Poland, studied at McGill University and the Sorbonne, and lives in Montreal. The government of France named her Officier de l’Ordre Arts et des Lettres.
Ann Charney’s novels Dobryd and Rousseau’s Garden were published in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.
The art of the French formal garden and the spirit of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau inform this delightful and intelligent novel about a young woman who bewilderingly finds herself at an impasse.
Claire Symons is a successful photographer in her late thirties, accomplished, self possessed, respected. She is recently married to Adrian, an internationally renowned art historian whose specialty is the French garden as a work of art. But Claire’s bubble of happiness and security is pierced by unexplained panic attacks.
Claire believes that the source of her anxiety may lie in her unresolved feelings of abandonment, suffered at age 12 when her beloved mother Dolly died. In the months preceding her death, Dolly, an artist, had been in Paris. Something happened. Claire embarks on a quest to piece together the events in France that caused Dolly’s emotional crisis.
Paris has rarely appeared more lively or more engaging than among Dolly’s old friends, who have surmounted upheaval, dislocation, and vast change. They include the indomitable Marta, matriarch of an unruly clan, who holds the key to Dolly’s secret. Will she part with it and betray ancient pacts?
Claire also relies on her own dear women friends. Zoe, a psychoanalyst, mother of two, and has troubles of her own, is a foil for Claire. The Countess, custodian of a great garden and a relic of a former regime, looks forward unflinchingly to the close of an era. These women of varying generations help Claire resolve her past and point the way to her future.