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.
“It’s a happy publishing season that includes a new book by William Weintraub.”
The National Post
“Crazy About Lili is a funny, farcical, and thoroughly engaging look back.”
The Globe and Mail
“Weintraub is adept at playing the historical tease, sprinkling in enough actual facts and local colour to give…credence to his jocular coming-of-age tale.”
The Montreal Gazette
Leacock Medal for Humour Finalist
Douglas Gibson Books /
McClelland & Stewart
Crazy About Lili
An innocent in the world of booze, brothels, and burlesque
Montreal in the late 1940s is the most vibrant, interesting city in North America. Booze, burlesque, brothels, gambling, corruption, and squabbling factions are part of the cacophony. Catholics, Protestants, French, English, business elite, Communist idealists, gangsters, reformers, and rogues all clamor for a piece of the action.
What does this mean to 17-year-old Richard Lippman and his friends who are about to enter their freshman year at McGill University? More than they know. All they want to do is get laid and find their direction in life.
Richard’s life is changed when his roguish Uncle Morty takes him to the Gayety Burlesque and introduces him to the dazzling stripper of the day, Lili L’Amour. Richard is smitten and sends her a poem he has written for her.
The elusive Lili, discovers a use for Richard and befriends him, introducing him to the world of exotic dancing. Meanwhile at McGill, his crush on the aristocratic Sophia provides his brush with the Communist Party which is legal in Canada. Alas, their appealing idealism is overshadowed by their earnestness.
Lili is not his sexual tutor, but his obsession for her reveals a world that sheltered, young Richard never imagined. Desperate to earn money to join Lili on the road, Richard unknowingly takes a job with a fraudulent real estate promoter. He skates through—but barely.
William Weintraub is a celebrated author of three novels and two works of non-fiction. They include the classic Why Rock the Boat which was made into a feature film (NFB), City Unique: The Rise and Fall of English Montreal, and Getting Started his memoir of literary life and friendship with Mavis Gallant, Brian Moore and Mordecai Richler.
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