Deep in the Heart of Damascus


Cleopatra’s Wedding PresentCleopatra’s Wedding Present: Travels through Syria
by Robert Tewdwr Moss
University of Wisconsin Press
245 pages, $24.95


ODDS ARE GOOD that no one at the Pentagon has read Cleopatra’s Wedding Present, even though it was first published in England in 1997. More’s the pity.

On the surface, Cleopatra’s Wedding Present seems right out of the “mad dogs and Englishmen” school of travel writing, a relative of Robert Byron’s Road to Oxiana. The anecdotal story line appears to be little more than a fey young man’s visit to some of Syria’s most famous—and obscure—tourist destinations. Moss sets himself up early in the book as he describes his traveling habits:

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