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.
Rites of Spring
The Great War and the birth of the modern age
“It is the extraordinary accomplishment of Modris Eksteins’s Rites of Spring that he grasps the tortured interplay between the most ghastly war ever fought and the social, intellectual, and cultural movements of the time. It is a work of superb scholarship; it is also profoundly moving.”
“Every once in a while someone come along to turn history on its ear. Only a Modris Eksteins, with his remarkable multidisciplinary talents, can bring it off, reminding us that scholarship, too, can be not just creative but exciting.”
“A perceptively researched and imaginatively organized analysis of the common roots of WWI and the modernist movement…A fresh-eyed look at an oft-studied era with impressive insight in abundance.”
“What occasioned the modernist sensibility, and what is its essence? Scores of recent books have addressed these questions, but few are as resourceful and original as this one…Modris Eksteins shows in this bold and fertile book that he understands the attraction of the new deeply enough to pursue it brilliantly himself.”
Paul Fussell (author of The Great War and Modern Memory) in Atlantic Monthly
“A brilliantly conceived and wonderfully written book of cultural and intellectual history…This will likely become required reading for anyone who seeks to understand the central importance of the Great War to the decades that followed.”
“Most impressively, Mr. Eksteins conveys the terrible experience of trench warfare and explains why it so radically altered the psychology of Europe.”
The New York Times
“…a brilliant cultural analysis redefining the origins and impact of World War 1…Eksteins brings a broad range of disciplines to bear, announcing a major new voice in cultural history.”
“…it is an immensely stimulating book, explaining much that has seemed confused and contradictory in our troubled century, and deserves to be widely read.”
The Times Literary Supplement