Francis Joseph and His Court: From the Memoirs of Count Roger De Rességuier

by Herbert Vivian

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Herbert Vivian was very much of an obnoxious opportunist, and later became a fascist. Born in 1865 in England, he enjoyed a life of privilege and elevated social circles. He was once friends with Oscar Wilde, but after Vivian published “The Reminiscences of a Short Life” Wilde forbid Vivian from coming near. The work caused fallout among Wilde and some of his friends. He was very involved in the Neo-Jacobite Revival, a UK political movement around the 1900s, which looked to replace British parliamentary democracy with a return to monarchy. In 1891, Vivian unsuccessfully ran for office. He still tried to remain in the political sphere, and started a few Jacobite leagues, like the Legitimist Jacobite League of Great Britain and Ireland, since he kept fighting with founding organization partners. Because his reputation in the UK was not good, he ended up becoming a travel writer to earn money and maintain some semblance of his reputation. He published a variety of books and articles on a variety of subjects, from fiction to a faulty gambling system, to mixed reviews. Sometimes he published under a pseudonym, but not to better results. In the 1930s he became a fan of fascist Italy and wrote its praises. By this time, even his attempts at non-fiction writing were advised to be considered mostly fiction. He died in 1940 to little fanfare and many sighs of relief.

 

 

 

 

The Howadji in Syria

by George William Curtis

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George William Curtis (February 24, 1824 – August 31, 1892) was born in Rhode Island, and became a well-known writer. He was deeply moved by the Transcendentalist movement, and was a member of Brook Farm for approximately one year. He traveled across Europe and the Middle East, writing for publications like Putnam’s Magazine and Harper’s Weekly. He was extremely influential in politics, working with Abraham Lincoln and becoming a powerful national speaker for the rights of African Americans and for ending slavery. He later worked with Ulysses S. Grant to reform the political system.Curtis wrote more than a dozen books, including Lotus-Eating (1852), Trumps (1862), Washington Irving: A Sketch (1891). This work is a travelogue that tells of Curtis’ experiences while in Syria.

This new edition is dedicated to Mark Hambley, scholar and interpreter of the Middle East.

 

 

 

Some African Highways: A Journey of Two American Women to Uganda and the Transvaal

by Caroline Kirkland, Introduction by Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell

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Much of this work originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Caroline Kirkland’s goal was to encourage other Americans, particularly women, to make the voyage into Uganda and parts of East Africa. Kirkland described her journey as “made with entire safety and great comfort…where else can you look out from railway carriage windows and see zebras, gnus, giraffes, hyneas, and even lions as you steam through a land?” While this work is greatly valuable as a travelogue by a female traveler, it is not unbound from the social mores of the time. For example, Kirkland also describes Uganda as for,

“the lover of strong contrasts, of high lights and black shadows, of wonderful scenery, of great spaces, of all that is new and free and sitting, I recommend a trip to this dark, mysterious, violent and enchanting country. We two women only touched the surface of it, but we were ever conscious of much we could not see, nor hear, nor formulate, but which exists in a land teeming with fierce and savage life.”

Kirkland took the journey with her mother, and an Italian maid, Nannina, who was to work for Kirkland’s sister residing in Central Africa. Her work includes a historical sketch, and numerous photographs.

 

The Barbary Coast: Sketches of French North Africa

by Albert Edwards

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The region, French North Africa, was a group of territories in the upper portion of Africa. It emerged after the decline of the Ottoman Empire, which lost control of the region in 1830 when French forces captured Algiers. Algiers became the site of power for France, until the powerful Algerian independence movement fought for free rule in 1962. Morocco overthrew the French protectorate in 1955, and Tunisia in 1956.

Albert Edwards’ work illustrates a xenophobic look at the people, culture and customs he encountered in North Africa. Despite his biased critiques of his encounters, he offers insight on the architecture, markets, and other aspects of the region at the time.

 

Iceland: Horseback Tours in Saga Land

by W. S. C. Russell

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Waterman Spaulding Chapman Russell, wrote under the much abbreviated name, W. S. C. Russell (1871-1918). Though a many year resident of New Hampshire, he enjoyed traveling, particularly to Iceland. He was fascinated with the country, its fire and ice and sagas, and surprised by the scant ethnographic, geological, or other studies of it. He took it upon himself to study the area, and wrote multiple books on Iceland, including Askja, A Volcano in the Interior of Iceland (1917). Russell spent a great deal of time in Iceland, living there for a while, and because of this, he felt his accounts of the region and its people were superior. He energetically encouraged others to visit, study and learn more about what he felt was one of the most fascinating places in the world.

 

Adrift on an Ice-Pan

by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

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Snow and ice can present significant danger, which can produce considerable self-examination. In Adrift on an Ice-Pan, Wilfred Thomason Grenfell discusses his experience of being trapped on an ice-pan. Grenfell was an Englishman who became a doctor and decided to serve the remote populace of Labrador, comprised of fishers and villages with limited access. This book carries a very moralistic and Christian approach, and also offers conflicting thoughts and portrayals on the value of life. As Grenfell states in the introduction, “ is little book is only the story of a Doctor in the wilds. His name and his identity do not matter. They will soon be forgotten anyhow. It was only a nameless fisher-lad whose life was at issue.”

Grenfell was born in 1865 in Chester, England to a family of several distinguished scholars and members of the military. Grenfell enjoyed his childhood in a rural area, and was ingrained with a deep appreciation for nature. The advantages of family wealth and pedigree allowed him to be able to concentrate on schooling, at Marlborough College, University of London, and then an internship at London Hospital. Seeking adventure, an advisor recommended Grenfell join the National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. At the time, it served four hospitals, with isolated persons attended to by doctors driving dogsleds across a very treacherous landscape.

 

Illustrated Sketches of Death Valley: and Other Borax Deserts of the Pacific Coast

by John R. Spears

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John R. Spears was born in 1850 in Van Wert, Ohio. Though an inveterate traveler, particularly out west, he ended up residing in Little Falls, New York. He wrote a great deal, particularly for the
New York Sun, and his books include The Port of Missing Ships and Other Stories of the Sea (1896), The Story of Nee England Whalers (1908), and The Story of the American Merchant Marine (1910). A great deal had been written about life in gold and silver mining camps, as well as the terrain surrounding them. However, Spears felt less attention had been paid to the desert, and wanted to depict the life in Death Valley, which he described as, “a gruesome story of a rugged  country…a story, too, of apparent paradoxes and of wonders.” Spears’ photographs offer a useful historical record of Death Valley, its people and animals, as they were in the 1890s.