During the relative calm of the mid-nineteenth century, many European travellers were attracted tot the desert regions of North Africa. Some came in search of places of Classical interest, others joined scientific expeditions. A few were attracted merely by the the desert’s mystery and romance. James Hamilton was such a traveller.
Though the slave trade still flourished, and dangers from thieves and, worse, disease still were prevalent, North Africa now held less secrets than its dark interior. Hamilton’s journey, in 1852, through the deserts of Cyrenaica (Barqah) takes the form of an excursion, here entertainingly retold.
‘I believe,’ the author states, ‘that the traveller who simply records what he sees with his eyes, and hears with his ears, and indulges in none of the pleasures of the imagination, rarely meets with those stirring scenes which so frequently charm the reader.”
True to these principles, Hamilton’s ‘wanderings’ have a charm all their own, and this facsimile of the edition first published in 1856 will be welcomed by a wide readership.