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.
“My Mother’s Daughter is a wonderfully honest and enthralling book.”
“It is beautiful and honest and wry and funny and so moving….I certainly plan to urge my students, and everyone else I know, to read [this] book.”
Paula Caplan, author of Don’t Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship
“A moving tribute to the unswerving, often unnerving matriarchal passion that powered one family’s…odyssey.”
The Globe and Mail
“A searingly honest accounting that makes for a most compelling read…In My Mother’s Daughter, Rona Maynard shows a substantive talent, using elegant, evocative and disciplined prose.”
The Toronto Star
“…engrossing and eloquent…”
McClelland&Stewart Canada 2007
My Mother’s Daughter
Rona Maynard’s opening line goes straight to the core of the mother-daughter relationship: “My mother gave birth to me twice. The first time is a matter of record. The second, almost forty years later, took place at her deathbed.”
A woman’s identity is forged in her relationship with her mother, whether it is strong and loving or fraught with conflict. Rona Maynard is beautifully suited to illuminating this journey from daughter to woman.
Her enthralling, imposing mother, Fredelle Maynard, struggled to find a place for herself, just as the women’s movement was blossoming in the 1960s. Armed with a Radcliffe PhD, Fredelle was denied an academic post, along with other women in her class. She turned to writing articles for American women’s magazines while maintaining the 1950s ideal of mommy whipping up cookies.
Meanwhile, she faced another disappointment: her gifted, charismatic husband, an artist and professor, was an alcoholic. She lavished all her hopes on her daughters: Joyce, the family charmer, and Rona, the rebel, who came to cherish and accept her mother after many years of furious resistance.
Joyce Maynard carved her own path, earning success as an author and notoriety through her life with the famously reclusive writer J.D. Salinger.
Rona Maynard has her own significant achievements. For 10 years, she was the editor of Canada’s leading women’s magazine, Chatelaine. She continues to write a column and to speak to women’s groups. With My Mother’s Daughter, her narrative and stylistic gifts will mark her as an exceptional writer of great insight to be enjoyed by those who admire the sharply perceptive prose of Joan Didion or Alice Munro.
See her innovative website: http://www.ronamaynard.com