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Israel: Past and Present

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Israel: Past and Present

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Israel: Past and Present
By D. Bahat
Vision S.r.l., Rome: 1998
ISBN: 88-8162-083-9

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - January 8, 2004

The Past and Present Series is a series of historical guidebooks that feature overlays showing how various ruins currently look, and how they would have looked when they were originally constructed. Currently there are six volumes in this series available in North America, covering such areas as Ancient Sicily, Ancient Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. This review will focus on the spiral-bound volume covering Israel, entitled Israel: Past and Present.

Israel: Past and Present, as with the other guidebooks in this series, are unique for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is the inclusion of overlays. The overlays show how various monuments, buildings, and archaeological sites looked when they were originally constructed. When you remove the overlay, you can see how the various sites and items look today. This volume is spiral bound and includes an historical overview of Israel and each area or topic under discussion. The book contains a wealth of illustrations ranging from images of ancient artwork, statuary, and interior and exterior pictures of public and private buildings, to maps and modern artwork depicting ancient events or architecture, and photographs of historically significant sites, such as a picture of the modern port at Caesarea in Israel. Additionally the various structures, artwork, and cultural artifacts pictured throughout the texts are discussed in detail.

This book will be of interest to both armchair travelers and actual travelers, as well as those interested in art history, history, and archaeology. Despite its relatively small size (about 22 X 16 X 2 cm) this book is jammed-packed with information, and it is lavishly illustrated. Its diminutive size makes it easy to carry along with you when you're actually traveling to the sites in question. For those who cannot actually go and see these sites in person, this book is one of the best 'next to actually being there' books that I've come across. If you are interested in Israeli history or archaeology, or if you are planning on touring aroung Israel, this is a must have book!

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