Turbulent Tangier

LILIUS, Aleko E. Turbulent Tangier.

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LILIUS, Aleko E. Turbulent Tangier. London, Elek Books, [1956].

8vo. Original boards with the rarely seen illustrated dust-wrappers (price-clipped); pp. ix, 179, plates after photographs; lower panel of wrappers with portion missing from lower margin, wear to edges of wrappers, otherwise very good.
First edition, uncommon of this wonderful book written by a resident of Tangiers. Aleko Axel August Eugen Lilius was born in St. Petersburg (of Russian-Finish-German origin) and became a restless trader, journalist, photographer and adventurer, apart from having been a wealthy private banker in Finland. Before the Second World War he had joined Chinese pirates and wrote two books about them under the pseudonym Bok. In the 1950s he lived with his family in Tangiers 'and, though he writes direspectfully and with a sharp awareness of the terrors that continually bubble beneath the exotic exterior, he loves the city and the people who live there' (blurb inside front flap). As usual with Lilius' books, he reports on the underworld, tells us that there are 16 European and 15 Arab brothels in the city, and describes encounters with some of the many European or American artistic and shady visitors.