Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was a preeminent British explorer of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. His famed disguised pilgrimage to Mecca in 1853 made his name known. Burton helped demystify this exotic Eastern world to the West. In "Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah", we are gifted with his personal account of his Haj. Full of insightful anthropological observations, Burton describes his encounters with Arab cultures and customs. This exciting tale revolves around his disguising as an Afghan doctor in order to not be noticed in his religious pilgrimage. Burton was more than an explorer, though; he was a translator, soldier, cartographer, and spy. His fascinating character comes through brilliantly in this travel account as we discover the East through the eyes of an outsider. Burton's "Narrative" is as much an adventure story as it is a study in cultural anthropologya true classic of travel writing that helped define the genre.
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January 01, 2013
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