Israel: Past & Present is a beautifully produced guide to the 16 top archeological sites in Israel. It uses pictures and overlays to illustrate what the sites look like now and how they would have appeared in their heyday, centuries ago. For Tiberias, for example, the guide provides some pivotal history--including its founding by Herod Antipas around A.D. 18, its fortification against the Great Revolt in A.D. 66, the Arab takeover in A.D. 636, the arrival of the crusaders in the 12th century, and all the subsequent crusader/Saladin battles, plus the restoration of the city walls in 1562 and the earthquake in 1837 that mangled those walls. There's a picture of Tiberias today, with sections of the ancient walls poking out among trees, cars, restaurants, and hotels, and an overlay with cutouts for the remnant walls that shows the 18th-century southern wall built on crusader fortification foundations. This is a lovely book from which to learn about Israel, inspire those interested in its history, and plan for a trip. --Stephanie Gold.