“If I were rich, so deep is my love for Arabia and science that I would undertake these excavations at my own expense, but I am not.”
—From a letter by Charles Huber, dated July 6, 1884
In this first-ever biography of Charles Huber, and the first English translation of Huber’s narrative of his earliest journey in Arabia, Facey, a historian, rescues Huber from obscurity and places him in the pantheon of
, Palgrave and Doughty.
, traveled in central Arabia in 1880 and 1883, mapping and copying rock inscriptions. His obscurity likely stems from his dry style of cataloging topographical features, weather and place names. Facey reveals much about the hardships Huber endured and the warm relations with Arabs he cultivated, and he is careful to also explain how the explorer’s reckless nature—often making rash decisions to travel into areas without guarantees of protection from tribal leaders—contributed to his murder by guides near Rabigh, along the Red Sea. Rather than the purple prose of Victorian-era adventure yarns, this work does well in restoring an overlooked story of Arabian exploration.