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Hashish: a Smuggler's Tale by Henry de…

Hashish: a Smuggler's Tale (1931)

by Henry de Monfreid

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This is a memoir by French adventurer Henry de Monfried detailing the history of one of his more high risk business enterprises. He was a French nobleman in the 1920s who had all sorts of misadventures trying various get rich quick schemes while dragging his poor wife and child around to some of the most disagreeable spots on the planet. Who knew there was money to be made if you could corner the market on top shells from the Indian Ocean? Or how badly they could stink? Then he got the bright idea of dealing in the subject of his title and many trials ensue. He manages to survive, else how would he have written this autobiography? His observations of people and the attitudes of these declining colonial times were entertaining and enlightening. His honesty concerning his own behavior is surprising. He had no shame about his schemes and thoughts and shares them with the reader, such as mentioning how he snuck around his Greek host's house in the middle of the night trying to figure out how to get to the pretty servant girl or how to circumvent customs officials. He's a cad, but a charming one. ( )
1 vote varielle | Sep 17, 2012 |
For a while I was the only one in LT who said they'd read this book, in this or any of its other titles: "Hashish: A Smuggler's Tale," "Hashish: Autobiography of a Red Sea Smuggler," and merely "Hashish" ... including French readers. Now a few others have fessed up to the pleasure. This is as lucid and well-written a book as anything I've ever read. I only wish that more of the author's stuff (apparently, he wrote prodigiously) had been published, or/and translated from the French. ( )
1 vote copyedit52 | Dec 17, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry de Monfreidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, Helen BuchananTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oberski, ArnanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Nobleman, writer, adventurer and inspiration for the swashbuckling gun runner in the "Adventures of Tintin", Henri de Monfried lived by his own account 'a rich, restless, magnificent life' as one of the great travellers of his or any age. Infamous as well as famous, his name is inextricably linked to the Red Sea and the raffish ports between Suez and Aden in the early years of the twentieth century. This is a compelling account of how de Monfried seeks his fortune by becoming a collector and merchant of the fabled Gulf pearls, then is drawn into the shadowy world of arms trading, slavery, smuggling and drugs. Hashish was the drug of choice, and de Monfried writes of sailing to Suez with illegal cargos, dodging blockades and pirates.
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"Henry de Monfreid was a nobleman, writer, smuggler and adventurer who travelled the world during the 1920s with his wife and young daughter in search of excitement and quick money. First seeking his fortune by becoming a collector and merchant of the fabled Gulf pearls, he was then drawn into the shadowy world of arms trading, slavery and drugs. When he decided to set out on his own, transporting hashish from Piraeus to Suez, his daring and initiative compensated for his lack of knowledge and experience. Written with an engaging wit and charm, Hashish describes de Monfreid's fail-safe hiding places for contraband, how to catch a water turtle, and the aphrodisiac properties of shark meat - and is alive with the people he encountered on his travels, from paunchy customs officials and Bedouin camel-drivers, to a marooned Dankali fisherman and a jovial Greek undertaker."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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