London, New York, Toronto, and Melbourne: Cassell and Company, 1921. 8vo. xvi, 350 pp. Reprint of the first edition published in the same year. With frontispiece and 71 photographic illustrations, plus a folding map detailing the journey. Original cloth, light staining mostly around the edges; interior very good throughout, although there is a very slight tear in the map at the fold. With the ownership signature of Gordon Jolly dated 27/3/58 on the front free end paper. Item #15059
Reprint of the first edition published in the same year. Forbes (1893-1967) was an intrepid traveler and the first European woman to visit the Kufra Oasis in Libya with co-explorer Ahmed Hassanein (to whom this work is dedicated). Forbes’s journey is rendered all the more extraordinary not only because she was a woman, but because she traveled during a period when this part of the world was closed to westerners.
The Sahara was not the only destination for Forbes. With her husband, she traveled to India, China, Australia and South Africa. She later visited Persia, Syria, Palestine, and Iraq. Her books are quite detail-oriented. She lived and mixed with the locals, frequenting bazaars and making friends with the Arabs, Afghans, Indians, Tadjiks, Usbegs and Kazaks. After a visit to England, Forbes traveled to Morocco and then went to Abyssinia where she made a travel film entitled From Red Sea to Blue Nile. Forbes was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society.
A wonderful review states: “In a world full of macho, early twentieth century male explorers, lovely Rosita Forbes stood alone. The famed Englishwoman went everywhere, and saw everything, in any perilous portion of the world that met her fancy. For example, though Afghanistan was supposedly closed to outsiders, the elegant Rosita hired a car, and had herself chauffeured from Kabul to Samarkand in style. In need of new adventures, the intrepid female explorer decided to penetrate the infamous wastes of the Libyan deserts. At stake was an interview with the mysterious leader of an obscure Muslim sect. Yet more important to Rosita was the need to discover, not some minor potentate, but the legendary lost city of the Sahara, Kufara. What followed can only be described as a classic 1920s adventure complete with a dashing Egyptian noblemen, a cast of notorious camels, and their noisome crew. And though Secret of the Sahara is full of the political observations and interesting interviews that made Rosita a justifiably famous travel writer, the ever-dashing English woman also regales her reader with poetic passages about the beauty of the desert world she had wandered into.
“Here is Rosita Forbes at her best, speaking to nomads, dining with desert royalty, or uncovering enough stories to fill two books. Luckily the best tales are still gathered here. “Secrets of the Sahara” remains a delightful work, still fresh and charming after all these years, just like its beautiful adventuress of an author.”.