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.
“Joanna Goodman writes with compassion about human connections… Harmony is a richly nuanced and compelling tale about secrets, redemption, and one woman’s effort to live fully as wife, mother, and herself.”
“Joanna Goodman is such a fine, polished writer. Harmony is an honest heart-wrenching and complex look at the tangled emotions and lives of both mothers and wives”
“Goodman’s solid writing is permeated with commentary on the societal pressures to have it all”
Penguin Canada 2007
NAL/Penguin USA 2007
A dark and surprising secret lurks at the heart of this comic novel. Soon, it will surface and profoundly alter Anne Mahroum’s sense of identity.
Anne, a perfectionist and collage artist, is married to Elie, A Lebanese-born numismatist — a successful dealer in rare coins. They are blessed with a darling infant son, who to Anne’s distress, was born with clubfeet.
This clouds her fantasy of taking her perfect son to show her father — a man she never knew.
Anne’s mother Jean, deliberately enigmatic, fled the marriage and his farming community in the Rockies, when Anne was a toddler. She never looked back.
The events showcase Joanna Goodman’s flair for comic observation and characters who are warm and fully human. The ending is as surprising as it is satisfying.
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