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These Chivalrous Brothers: The Mysterious Disappearance of the 1882 Palmer Sinai Expedition Paperback – 29 Jan 2016


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About the Author

David Sunderland is the author of five books and numerous articles on the economic history of London, British Imperialism and nineteenth-century social change.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Into the empty triangle... 23 Feb. 2016
By James D. Crabtree - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The main focus of the book is the disappearance of a small team landed in the Sinai during the Anglo-Egyptian War. The mission was to buy the allegiance of the elusive Bedouin tribes who lived east of the Suez Canal, in order to provide security for this vital lifeline in the face of Egyptian nationalists.

Sunderland provides much information regarding this short war and the circumstances surrounding it. He also provides biographical data on many of the key people involved in this conflict, most especially Professor Edward Palmer, a man who would have been called a "Orientalist" in his own time and an eccentric character in his own right.

I lived in the Sinai for 13 months and recognized the place-names even without a map: Nakhl, Tor, Ayun Musa, Qantara, Dahab, Aqaba, Ismalia, el Arish... all important landmarks in the region. I also recognize the Bedouins in the story from brief encounters with them on the road or at official functions. Sunderland's writing puts almost everything into context. I don't know why he continuously refers to "the monastery at Mount Sinai" when the proper name is Saint Catherine's.

Hardly a murder mystery, the story is still interesting for the War, the Palmer Expedition and the efforts taken after hostilities ended to determine the truth of what happened. A good window into this part of the world. If the book has a defect it is that the author strays way too far from the main story in some cases. Also, there are some typos. The one that irritates me the most is "court marshal," repeated several times (even though the correct spelling manages to make an appearance here and there).
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