HAIDAR, Princess Musbah. Arabesque. London, Hutchinson, .
8vo. Original red cloth, lettered in black; pp. 244, folding genealogical table and plates after photographs; cloth a bit marked and lettering on spine faded; internally, apart from sporadic light spotting of the wartime paper, very good.
Very rare first edition, first impression. 'Musbah Haidar (1908-77) was the daughter of Amir Ali Haidar, a Sherif of Mecca who held a number of hihg-ranking positions in the Ottoman government, and also served briefly as Amir of Mecca … Musbah Haidar, or Sherifa Musbah Hanim, as she was also known, was of truly royal birth. The honorific title Sherif (Sherifa in the case of women) is hereditary, and indicates direct descent from the Prophet Mohammed … Haidar's book ends with the establishement of the Turkish Republic and the abolition of the caliphate by the new government … Haidar and her siblings were regarded as princes and princesses, raised in Istanbul, Syria and Beirut … Haidar has a unique and extremely well-informed window onto the political and social events unfolding around her. (Reina Lewis and Nacy Micklewright, editors, Gender, Modernity and Liberty: Middle Eastern and Western Women's Writings pp. 221f.). - A rare and valuable source, written by a member of the Arab-Ottoman establishment and a woman, on the shifts in politics and societies of the Middle East at the beginning of the 20th century.