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A dedication


Among the many achievements which exemplify the reign of your august father, His Majesty Fouad I, the mapping of the Libyan Desert must surely take pride of place.

This enormous expanse of sand, covering almost two thirds of the Kingdom, incorporated vast unexplored regions, maps of which showed little more than a series of empty spaces. Exploration by camel caravan was slow, difficult, and dangerous: only a handful of expeditions followed that undertaken by Rohlfs by command of Khedive Ismail, Your Majesty’s illustrious grandfather. Under the reign of the late King Fouad I, Ahmed Hassanein Bey completed a further two journeys on camelback that will remain forever famous.

But it is the petrol-driven engine which has ultimately rendered possible the conquest of the Libyan Desert. And this has been, quite fittingly, the accomplishment of the Royal Family of Egypt – one of whose noblest sons, His Royal Highness Prince Kemal al Din Hussein, dedicated to this task the final years of a life which all too soon was over. It is in the footsteps of this great explorer that the author of the present book has sought to bring to an appropriate conclusion an endeavour that harsh destiny denied to him who had both conceived of and embarked upon it with such inexhaustible energy and unstinting enthusiasm.

The patronage and moral encouragement of the late King Fouad I made possible the completion of the work which forms the subject of this volume; but Divine Providence did not see fit to permit the author to offer it before the feet of the Grand Sovereign.

It is, therefore, to Your Majesty, his son and successor to his glorious reign, that I make so bold as to dedicate this work, respectfully beseeching that you accept it as a proof and humble token of my profound and everlasting gratitude.

L. E. de Almásy

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