The Sword and the Cross

  • 368 pages
  • English
  • Hardcover
The Sword and the Cross

⇰ Download Hardcover [ The Sword and the Cross ] ⨵ By Fergus Fleming ⪛ Adventure writer and historian Fleming Barrow s Boys, etc turns to French colonial Africa for his latest chronicle of historical mis adventure His meticulous research and fascination with the physical hardships faced by men bent on discovery and conquest are on impressive display Following the sometimes parallel, sometimes intertwining biographies of Charles de Foucauld and Henri Laperrine, Fleming reconstructs the French colonial crusade in northern Africa that began with France s conquest of Algeria in 1830 Following a series of disgraces in the imperialist race, France needed the Sahara to resurrect its honor on the world s stage Fleming concludes, France was conquering Africa just for the sake of it Foucauld and Laperrine met as soldiers during the Bou Amama war in Algeria in 1881, and while Laperrine became a career soldier and Foucauld matured from a hedonistic womanizer into an evangelical ascetic, they remained friends until Foucauld s assassination by Muslim fundamentalists in 1916 Until their deaths Laperrine died of thirst amid the dunes after a plane crash , the two men dedicated themselves to France s cause with zeal As Fleming writes, Evangelization was the mortar that imperialists hoped would turn the desert from conquered territory to complaisant colony, and while Foucauld became a pawn in the colonial game, Fleming recognizes that most likely he used the military as much as they used him What emerges most notably from this dense, detailed history is Fleming s description of the colonialists flirting time and time again with a desert seemingly inimical to human life As Fleming concludes, The tragedy of their existences lay not so much in time as in landscape the Sahara was the same after their deaths as before 3 maps.Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.Fleming s chronicle of France s fight to cross the Sahara to colonize North Africa focuses on two men, Charles de Foucauld and Henri Laperrine De Foucauld is described as an aristocratic playboy turned hermit and monk Laperrine, a shadowy figure, was the creator of the Camel Corps and was seen as a pragmatic man, violent and scheming This story of two extraordinary men who lived inan extraordinary place at an extraordinary time follows Laperrine s travels across the desert between 1904 and 1909 with de Foucauld as his guide and interpreter Drawing on many of de Foucauld s letters and other writings, Fleming describes building a cabin of palm branches, then constructing one with stones and mud de Foucauld bitten by a horned viper taking a month to walk again the shortage of food and water presenting a serious problem and a lack of hygiene causing concern When the camels lagged, Laperrine told his men to eat them It was a question of sacrificing men or animals I did not hesitate This adventure story reads like the finest fiction George Cohen Copyright American Library Association All rights reserved 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