By LOWELL THOMAS
TO EIGHTEEN GENTLEMEN OF CHICAGO THIS NARRATIVE OF A MODERN ARABIAN KNIGHT IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED.
Surely no one ever offered a volume to the public who was quite so deeply indebted to others, and I have long looked forward to the opportunity of expressing my gratitude. To do this I must turn back the pages of time to the days when, accompanied by my photographic colleague, Mr. Harry A. Chase, and two other assistants, I left America to gather information and secure a pictorial record of the various phases of the struggle that was then in progress all the way from the North Sea to far off Arabia.
We had set forth early in 1917 and were expected to return at the end of a year or so to help in the work of stimulating enthusiasm for the Allied Cause. The late Mr. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of Interior, had suggested that I resign from the faculty of Princeton University in order to undertake this. To Secretary Lane, Secretary of the Navy Daniels, and Secretary for
War Baker, who were responsible for our becoming attached successively to the various Allied armies, I am indebted for the opportunities which enabled me to obtain the material for this volume. This was before a special appropriation had been set aside for such work, and as the result of Secretary Lane’s suggestion, eighteen distinguished private citizens supplied the funds for the undertaking.
Mr. Chase and I have just concluded a three-year speaking tour of the world, during which I have shown he pictorial record and narrated to several million people the story which we brought back of Allenby’s conquest of the Holy Land, and the hitherto unknown story of Lawrence and the War in the land of the Arabian Nights. The generous praise and innumerable courtesies which have been extended to us during this tour have been received by us on behalf of these eighteen nameless gentlemen. For it is to them that the credit is due. In Europe, Americans are commonly regarded as mere worshippers of Mammon yet these financiers are typical American business men, and if this book proves to be a contribution of value because it happens to be the only written fragmentary record of the most romantic campaign in history, then the credit belongs to these unselfish, anonymous gentlemen of Chicago. For had it not been for them, the story of Colonel Lawrence’s achievements in Arabia might never have been told, and might never have become very widely known even among his own countrymen.Share It