House of Tears
An Explorers Club Book Several decades before Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Islamic insurgents, an international crisis ignited between the United States and the Middle East. In May 1904 Moroccan warlord Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli kidnapped Ion Perdicaris, a wealthy Greek-American resident of Tangier, in an attempt to extort money from the Sultan of Morocco. President Theodore Roosevelt responded with his "big stick" approach to diplomacy by dispatching a squadron of seven battleships to the Moroccan coast with the order: "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead." The nine-week standoff, with U.S. troops and ships in Tangier Bay and Raisuli holding fort in the mountains, exposed the impotence of emerging American power and a critical misunderstanding about Moroccan politics. When it was discovered that Perdicaris was not an American citizen after all, the U.S. government kept the embarrassing episode a secret until 1933. Profiting royally from the conflict, Raisuli built his palace, which he called the "House of Tears." In this page-turning blend of travel narrative and compelling adventure, John Hughes includes this and other tales, mostly firsthand accounts, of Westerners who traveled to Islamic lands during the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, from the Sahara Desert all the way to the mountains of Afghanistan. Englishman Thomas Pellow describes his rise from slave to a homicidal sultan--a man whose trophies of war were human ears hacked from the heads of his enemies--to commander of the Moroccan army in the eighteenth century. Walter B. Harris, a London "Times correspondent and professional adventurer, risks his life in 1886 by entering the holy city of Chefchouaen, Morocco, indisguise. John Reed arrives in Constantinople in 1916 just as the Ottoman Empire teeters on the brink of collapse. Lowell Thomas''s account of his controversial relationship with T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") explains the man behind the myth. Freya Stark, who worked for British Intelligence in Yemen, Egypt, and Iraq during World War II, astutely notes the simmering hostility of the Iraqis toward the British. "I wonder," she wrote in 1930, "if there is one Iraqi who really wants us." House of Tears is a treasury of the most exciting and revealing narratives ever published about the Islamic world from the last several decades. Not only is this a fine compendium of true adventure stories, but it is also a collection that celebrates the fine nuances of cultural encounters, in times of peace as well as conflict.