Byron de Prorok, explorer and trained $ archaeologist, sees the Africa of to-day in terms of the past. In the Sahara Desert the pictures carved on the sandstone rocks tell him of the ancient colonies of Egypt and Ethiopia; of the sources of gold and precious stones that adorned the Queen of Sheba; that Solomon used for his temple; and the Pharaohs hoarded. Mummies and tombs interpret the every-day life of many thousands of years ago.
This, however, is not a ” pick and shovel ” book: it is exciting adventure and sound information concerning Ethiopia, where the author was excavating just before the Italians marched in. The local chiefs and sultans were often tyrants, resenting the intrusion of strangers, and more than once the expedition faced the possibility of immediate torture and death. On one occasion the party was saved only by the timely arrival of the escort promised by the Emperor. Count de Prorok met Haile Selassie, and gives here, for the first time, the little-known and hitherto unrevealed dreams and hopes which the Emperor holds for Ethiopia’s future.
In ways of life, Abyssinia has not changed for four thousand years—even the old secret trails are still used for slave caravans. There are fascinating anthropological descriptions of strange rites, as well as many detailed depictions of curious native customs—some never before witnessed by a white man. Enlightening information is given too, on the political problems of this backward country that is struggling to become organised to take its place among nations whose economic structure is more advanced.