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Morocco That Was

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  51 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Here are the vanished days of the unfettered Sultanate in all their dark, melodramatic splendor-a mingling of magnificence with squalor, culture with barbarism, refined cruelty with nave humor. Until 1912 Morocco never suffered foreign domination, and its mountainous interior was as closed to foreigners as Tibet. Walter Harris (1866-1933), though, was the exception. He fir ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published December 31st 2007 by Eland (first published September 23rd 1970)
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عمر
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it interesting regarding Morocco situation before colonisation, especially from inside Palaces, I was shocked with such brutality and melodrama that Moroccans were suffering from it.
still some points that I have some reserve on it like:
- "Elephant escape" near Tangier while Mulay Abdelhafid moved his wild animals from Fez to Tangier, such event should have big impact on locals and I never hear about it from the History, so I doubt this happened!
- "Tribesmen of the North believe in resur
...more
Maurice
You will find first-hand accounts in many settings, from Europe to Asia and South America, but you'll find very few about life and events in North Africa. A truly fascinating read about life in Morocco, outside Tangier and often close to the sultans of the time. Clearly many passages of the book are an exaggeration or dramatisation of events, sometimes bordering of the ludicrous, often overstating the role of the author, but this hardly changes the intriguing setting and time period against whic ...more
Ben
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Morocco That Was provides Walter Harris' account of his experiences in Morocco just prior to and immediately after the French Protectorate. Mr. Harris was a newspaper correspondent, but more importantly a widely known "western" operative within a country closed to many.

Most historically important from this book is the author's first person account of the downfall of the reign of Mulai Abd al-Aziz IV. The story of this ruler provides a warning for all well-intentioned leaders who fall prey to out
...more
Christopher Saunders
Picaresque account of turn-of-the-century Morocco from an English diplomat. John Milius must have consulted this while making The Wind and the Lion. It's all there: sybaritic sultans, convoluted court politics, scheming Europeans and Mulai El Raisuli, who held the author hostage for several weeks in 1903. Harris provides fascinating portraits of Morocco's weak sultans: Abdelaziz is well-meaning but ineffectual, Mulai Hafed a greedy power player; their incompetence made European conquest inevitab ...more
Rrlgrrl
An interesting memoir of life in Morocco in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The author wrote this book in kind of scattered way and anecdotally rather than discrete chapters on specific topics. It had the feel of reading the Tales of the Alhambra. Since the book was written in first person, the biases of the author clearly reflected the mentality of the time - Europeans bringing "civility" to the "heathens". Still, it was an interesting glimpse of court life of the Sultan of Morocco before the Frenc ...more
Caron
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flashes of comic brilliance and tense derring-do that make for a fascinating read in parts, not least from a sun-lounger in modern day Morocco! The narrative voice (whether it's faithful to the facts or not) is very likeable. Alas, the book eventually trails off into seemingly endless accounts of Moroccan military and political tittle-tattle, to the point where I (unusually) gave up out of sheer boredom. A shame, as it begins so promisingly.
Jennifer
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting, much more of a series of recollections then a linear history but it was great to read through and put things in context; also very interesting because it was through the early 1920's so had a different perspective on the French Protectorate in Morocco than we heard about when we were there.
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