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.
FOLLOW THE ELEPHANT
Follow the Elephant, is an entertaining novel for ages 9 to 12 about a boy’s journey to India with his grandmother.
Ben Kaplan, 13, is angry, confused and disruptive after the recent death of his father. To halt his slide, he is pressed into a trip to India with his grandmother. Her stated purpose is to find her long lost pen pal Shanti.
The search for Shanti becomes a kind of scavenger hunt following assorted leads and clues. But the search also provides a brilliant framework to introduce fascinating details about culture, religion and life in India.
In the end, Ben achieves the nearly impossible–finding Shanti, a quest that is the equivalent of “finding a camel hair in the desert.” He also comes to understand the epigram in his guide book: “A traveller goes to India seeking adventure, but invariably what he finds is himself.” And he emerges with new-found confidence and maturity.
Follow the Elephant subtly explores Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism and fits well with Canadian Grade 7 and 8 curriculums on world religions.
Finalist for 2010 Best Canadian Children’s Book
IODE Violet Downey Book Awards
A 2010 Year’s Best Book by Resource Links
Beryl Young had impressive first-time success with her novel Wishing Star Summer (Raincoast 2001). The book was on the BC Children’s Bestseller list for 26 weeks, and was named an Our Choice book by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
Beryl is a member of the Federation of B.C. Writers, the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of B.C., the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable, and the Canadian Society of Authors, Illustrators, and Performers.