The story of the Indian soldiery in the Great War needs a new telling and one important chapter of it will be about the Maharajah of Bikaner: Dashing, autocratic and a formidable public speaker, Ganga Singh commanded his own camel corps called the Ganga Risala, fought on the Western Front and in Egypt, became the first Indian general in the British Indian army and persuaded the maharajas to unite into the Chamber of Princes. As a result of this and his war record he was invited by Lloyd George to attend the Imperial War Conference in 1917 and then the Versailles Peace Conference two years later, where he persuaded the other delegates to include India in the new League of Nations, quite an achievement as it was not an independent nation. Less successfully he tried to prevent the dismemberment of Turkey.
In 1940, Saudi Arabian intellectual and activist Hamza Shehata (1910–71) gave a lecture at the Makkah Charitable Aid Association. Over the course of four hours, Shehata shared a staggering number of social and cultural observations and critiques on many facets of contemporary life. Translated into English for the first time, Manliness presents that speech for a new generation of readers.
Using a framework that was both scientific and philosophical, Shehata convinced his audience that conventional views of virtue and vice were a deceptive simplification and that social and religious reform was necessary. A humble man at heart, he was reluctant to publish his talk in his lifetime, but thanks to Malik R. Dahlan’s expert translation and insightful discussion of the larger historical and geographical context for the speech, readers are now able to appreciate a fascinating snapshot of Arabian history that would otherwise be lost.
Baron Gustaf Mannerheim was one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century, and the only man to be decorated by both sides in the Second World War. As a Finnish officer in Russian service, he witnessed the coronation of the last Tsar, and was both reprimanded for foolhardiness and decorated for bravery in the Russo-Japanese War. He spent two years undercover in Asia as an agent in the 'Great Game', posing as a Swedish anthropologist. He crossed China on horseback, stopping en route to teach the 13th Dalai Lama how to shoot with a pistol, and spying on the Japanese navy on his way home. He escaped the Bolsheviks by the skin of his teeth in 1917, arriving in the newly independent Finland just in time to lead the anti-Russian forces in the local revolt and civil war. During Finland's darkest hour, he lead the defence of his country against the impossible odds of the Winter War. This major new life of Gustaf Mannerheim, the first to be published for over a decade, includes new historical material on Mannerheim's time in China.
Jonathan Clements Haus Publishing, 2006
The records of the Chinese Yuan dynasty do not mention a Marco Polo at all (and they should), and there aer some suspicious omissions from Polo's text - no tea, no foot-binding, no mention of Chinese printing, or even of the Great Wall. Did Polo even go to China?
A Matter of Time
Alex Capus Haus Publishing, 2009 Library of Congress PT2663.A64M3813 2009 | Dewey Decimal 833.92
A little known backwater of the history of the Great War is vividly rendered by a great story-teller - the central characters and events of this book are based on fact, but their surroundings and experiences are richly drawn from the author's imagination and detailed research.
Acclaimed writer Jeffrey Lewis is known for his deft portrayals of relatable figures from all walks of life. In The Meritocracy Quartet, his four interlinking novels—Meritocracy: A Love Story, The Conference of the Birds, Theme Song for an Old Show, and Adam the King—have been brought together for the first time into a single volume. Set against the backdrop of the changing American landscape over four decades, The Meritocracy Quartet is a testament to the country’s evolving personality.
The quartet follows Louie, a Yale graduate from a modest background with a gift for forging connections in high and low places. Beginning in the 1960s, as he documents a going-away party for a fellow Yalie on his way to Vietnam, and continuing through his spiritual encounters with a 1970s group of city misfits, his turn to television writing in the 1980s, and a tragic love story between two of his close friends in the 1990s, Louie chronicles not only his own personal struggles—his silent love for his best friend’s girl, his delicate relationship with an at-times absent father—but also the attitudes, events, and people that marked his generation. From the Vietnam War to George W. Bush, from television trends to the divide between the haves and have-nots, The Meritocracy Quartet is a moving witness to everything America had to offer in the latter portion of the twentieth century.
While much of the Middle East is now engulfed in conflict and repression, Morocco remains a curious anomaly: peaceful and open to the West, it has provided refuge for artists and writers for generations, and it remains an exotic destination for many curious travelers. The country has been influenced by an incredible variety of peoples—Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Berbers, Muslims, Jews, and most of Europe’s colonizers have played a role—and modern Moroccan society is no less rich and varied.
In Morocco, Walter M. Weiss brings extensive knowledge of the region to bear as he travels the breadth and depth of the country’s social and geographical contrasts. Berber villagers of the mountains are for the most part still illiterate and consider their king to be divinely chosen, while businessmen in Casablanca’s towering offices dream of closer ties to the European Union. Weiss visits the settings of modern legends, such as Tangier, as well as the two medieval centres Fès and Meknès, and sees earthen kasbahs and Marrakech’s bazaar. On the way, he meets acrobats, Sufi musicians, pilgrims, craftsmen, beatniks, rabbis, and Berber farmers—a kaleidoscope of variety and cultural influence.
A mountain peak above Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt, Mount Sinai is best known as the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments in the biblical Book of Exodus. Mount Sinai brings this rich history to light, exploring the ways in which the landscape of Mount Sinai’s summit has been experienced and transformed over the centuries, from the third century BCE to World War I.
As an important site for multiple religions, Mount Sinai has become a major destination for hundreds of visitors per day. In this multifaceted book, George Manginis delves into the natural environment of Mount Sinai, its importance in the Muslim tradition, the cult of Saint Catherine, the medieval pilgrimage phenomenon, modern-day tourism, and much more. Featuring notes, a bibliography, and illustrations from nineteenth-century travelers’ books, this deft blend of historical analysis, art history, and archaeological interpretation will appeal to tourists and scholars alike.
‘”From the very first moment they realize that the Hajj—the pilgrimage to Mecca—is among the duties of each and every Muslim, the faithful long to go.”
This book presents Ilija Trojanow’s journey from Mumbai to Mecca in the tradition of the rihla, one of the oldest genres of classical Arabic literature, describing the Hajj, the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Islam. Every Muslim, regardless of geographical location, is implored by tradition to undertake the Hajj at least once in their life if they are able. Trojanow, with the help of his friends, donned the ihram, the traditional garb of the pilgrim, and joined the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who each year go on the Hajj. Over the course of a mere three weeks he experienced a tradition dating back over a thousand years. This personal and enlightening account will provide insights not only for Muslims who have yet to embark on the Hajj, but for those who have already made the journey and want to see a different perspective on it. Mumbai to Mecca also presents a unique glimpse into this pivotal tradition for those non-Muslims who remain barred from the most holy Muslim sites.
the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Islam, through the eyes of a Westener, but with the heart of a Muslim.
The ongoing conflict in Syria has made clear just how limited the general knowledge of Syrian society and history is in the West. For those watching the headlines and wondering what led the nation to this point, and what might come next, this book is a perfect place to start developing a deeper understanding.
Based on decades of living and working in Syria, My House in Damascus offers an inside view of Syria’s cultural and complex religious and ethnic communities. Diana Darke, a fluent Arabic speaker who moved to Damascus in 2004 after decades of regular visits, details the ways that the Assad regime, and its relationship to the people, differs from the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya—and why it was thus always less likely to collapse quickly, even in the face of widespread unrest and violence. Through the author’s firsthand experiences of buying and restoring a house in the old city of Damascus, which she later offered as a sanctuary to friends, Darke presents a clear picture of the realities of life on the ground and what hope there is for Syria’s future.