Desert Calling by Anne Fremantle
New York: Henry, Holt and Company, 1949. Stated "First Printing" on the copyright page. Hardcover. 364 pages ; 22 cm. $4.00 dust jacket. A few rips and tears to jacket front and spine. Quarter size piece of jacket missing at rear. Pages are toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.
By ANNE FREMANTLE
Aristocrat and explorer, classmate of four French Marshals, Charles de Foucauld was thirty in 1888, and had every worldly gift. In search of adventure, he had already explored forbidden Morocco disguised as a humble Jew. The geographical data he collected and published for the French Geographical Society opened up an exciting and rewarding future. But the piety and fervor of Islam awakened an echo in his soul — a Catholic echo. The agnostic bon vivant, the dazzling officer, the favored aristocrat came to a decision. He renounced the world and joined the Trappist Order.
Ten years he remained in the Holy Land, first as a Trappist, then as a servant of the Poor Clares: his uniform, a bundle of rags; his ration, a few grains of wheat; his regimen, silence and endless prayer. Even in that pious company he gained the reputation of a saint, unequaled for humility and devotion. But this was not yet his destiny.
In 1901, at the age of forty-two, Charles de Foucauld established at Beni-Abbes in Algeria the lonely Saharan mission which was to be his monument and his grave. Here at last he found himself; here, in the desert, surrounded by his beloved Touaregs. For fifteen years, amid incredible hardship and solitude, he labored to convert these intractable desert warriors — and never made a convert.
But by his influence, his example, and his understanding, Charles pacified half an Empire, and became, with Lyautey, one of the founders of France-in-Africa, a Lawrence of the Sahara. Then in 1916 under the prodding of Moslem fanatics the tribes revolted, and Charles died as he had lived, at his post, a martyr to the tribesmen for whom he had labored so long and so well.
Such is the life of Charles de Foucauld, soldier of the Church and candidate for beatification, here recounted with bril-liance and power by the author of JAMES AND JOAN.
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