In her highly acclaimed first book, Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene focused on a little known patch of the large and complex quilt that is the Southern civil rights movement. She peopled it with characters who were both courageous and flawed, and the end result offered us a fresh and illuminating insight into the difficult and intractable problem of race in this country. Her newest book, The Temple Bombing, works from the same recipe. This time the event is the little known 1958 bombing of Atlanta's reform Jewish Temple. Greene's characters are an indefatigable young rabbi, Jacob Rothschild; a violent group of bigots intent on finding a Jewish conspiracy behind the country's racial turmoil; a burgeoning Southern city on the cusp of radical change; and a host of civic and business leaders whose stance on civil rights is guided by the exigencies of healthy commerce rather than by moral conviction.