John Hughes has written about British history and taught European history in the US and Canada. While on the staff at St. George's School in Vancouver, he edited a collection of narratives by travellers to Islamic countries during the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, House of Tears: Westerners' Adventures in Islamic Lands (Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2005).
[BCBW 2005] "Islam"
House of Tears: Westerners' Adventures in Islamic Lands (The Lyons Press $22.95)
In May 1904, Moroccan warlord Mulai Ahmed el Raisuni kidnapped Ion Perdicaris, a wealthy Greek-American resident of Tangier, in an attempt to extort money from the Sultan of Morocco. President Theodore Roosevelt responded by dispatching a squadron of seven battleships to the Moroccan coast with the order: Perdicaris alive or Raisuni dead. The nine-week standoff between U.S. troops and Raisuni exposed the impotence of emerging American power and revealed a critical misunderstanding about Moroccan politics. When it was discovered that Perdicaris was not an American citizen after all, the U.S. government kept the embarrassing episode a secret until 1933. Profiting royally from the conflict, Raisuni built his palace, the "House of Tears," soon after.
In this blend of adventure and travel narrative, historian John Hughes reintroduces this and other vintage tales of Westerners who traveled to Islamic lands. Here we witness Englishman Thomas Pellow's rise from slave of a homicidal sultan- a man who kept the ears of his victims as trophies-to commander of the Moroccan army in the 1700s. A century later, London Times correspondent and professional adventurer Walter B. Harris risks his life by entering the holy city of Chefchouaen, Morocco, in disguise. In his account of Constantinople in 1916, John Reed describes an empire teetering on the brink of collapse. And who could forget Lowell Thomas's legendary account of the man who would become known as "Lawrence of Arabia"? Woven throughout these stories is the collaboration between Muslims and Westerners as together they faced perilous journeys across deserts, mountain passes, and into forbidden cities. House of Tears is a collection that celebrates the fine nuances of cultural encounters, in times of peace as well as conflict.--Publishers' press release