The Secret of the Sahara: Kufara

FORBES, Rosita. The Secret of the Sahara: Kufara.

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FORBES, Rosita. The Secret of the Sahara: Kufara. London, Cassell & Company, Limited, [1921].

8vo. Original grey cloth, spine lettered in gilt, front cover lettered in brown, illustrated in blue; pp. xvi, 350; illustrations from photographs, one folding map; light toning to endpapers, else a very good copy; Australian ownership inscription to fly-leaf.
Second printrun of the first edition. An account of a journey across the Libyan desert from Jedabia to the oases of Kufara. 'She met leading personalities in Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, and elsewhere, and laid the foundation of her lifelong interest in Arab affairs. She also planned the adventure on which rests her claim to be taken seriously as an explorer: her journey in the winter of 1920–21 across the Libyan desert to the oasis of Kufra, which lay beyond the frontiers of Italian occupation and within the territory of Sayed Idris al-Senussi (later King Idris of Libya) ... Rosita Forbes disguised herself as a Muslim, taking the name of Khadija and inventing a Circassian mother to account for imperfections in her Arabic. She had introductions to the Italian authorities, who tried to prevent her moving outside the zone they controlled, and to the sheikhs of the Senussi. She had, too, the good fortune to travel with Ahmad Hassanein Bey, the Egyptian scholar and explorer. Their journey by camel across the desert to the oasis, reached on 15 January 1921, was arduous and at times difficult, the return through Egypt by the Siwa oasis hardly less so, and Hassanein Bey's knowledge of the terrain and personalities concerned was vital to the success of the venture' (ODNB).