Roberts, Frederick. Egypt to Hedjaz and Hedjaz To-Day.

(Cairo, 1931).

8vo. 36 ff., printed on rectos only. Original printed wrappers with oval portrait of the author in Arabic costume. Stapled.


First edition, very rare. Extraordinary guide to the Kingdom of Hejaz, "the most frequented pilgrim country in the world" (f. 36). It comprises accounts of Jeddah and Mecca and includes a chapter on King Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud (1875-1953), "undoubtedly the strongest and ablest ruler Arabia has produced for many many years" (f. 29).

Describing the journey from Egypt across the Red Sea, the booklet discusses the travel documents required to enter Hejaz, as well as the enormous economic benefit of the pilgrimage to the Kingdom, and gives a report of the crossing from Suez to Jeddah including stops at El Tor, "the most attractive and beautiful of the Red Sea towns" (f. 11), Wedja and Yambo. It includes a description of the Mount Sinai monastery as well as the wrecked pilgrim ship "Asia", which caught fire in the Jeddah port in 1929. On the one hand deeming Jeddah "a place for work and no play" (p. 24), the guide laments the prohibition of alcohol, cigarettes and gramophones, as well as the lack of hotels, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, and fresh water, and criticises the general state of many houses in the city. On the other hand, the booklet admires the low crime rate of Hejaz as well as recent improvements in public transportation. An uncommonly frank account of a Westerner's stay in Hejaz, not hesitating to speak out on the hardships of pilgrimage.

Covers loosened; somewhat soiled. A few pages slightly wrinkled. Contemporary ownership inscribed to title-page in blue ballpoint. Not a single copy traceable in libraries worldwide.

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