This book is a facsimile of Arabistan, first published in 1875. The title of the work was chosen by its author to delineate the region through which he travelled in 1874, now known as the countries of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.
It is, however, the subtitle of the work which better describes the author’s approach to his narrative: ‘As a book of scientific exploration, this volume makes no pretentions,’ he admits. ‘My motive in visiting these countries was a desire to gratify a long-cherished wish to see stand and curious nations which have always held for me a strange fascination.’
As a result, the narrative follows an imaginative course as the author proceeds from Alexandria to Jerusalem, thence via the Red Sea to Mecca. Along the way he provides an entertaining account of his experiences, punctuating the story with amusing anecdotes and cameos of the characters he meets en route.
His journey continues through Aden to Iran, ending at Baghdad in Iraq where the author devotes much of his time to studying the marvels of that ancient city, and the customs and habits of its people.
Enhanced with almost a hundred fine engravings, the book, indeed, provides an entertaining excursion into the ‘Land of the Arabian Nights’.