CLASH OF EAGLES: AMERICA'S FORGOTTEN EXPEDITION TO OTTOMAN PALESTINE by Carol Lea Clark
Clash of Eagles: America's Forgotten Expedition to Ottoman Palestine by Carol Lea Clark
In the 1840s, in the middle of the Mexican-American War, the Secretary of the Navy authorized Lt. William Francis Lynch to command an unusual expedition east to Ottoman Palestine, now Israel and Jordan, to map the Dead Sea. Horses weren't strong enough, so Lynch improvised with foul-tempered camels to haul metal boats overland from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee. Traversing this backwater of a dying empire, he forged life-saving alliances with a Bedouin sheikh and a Hashemite sharif, and he and his men navigated the treacherous, uncharted rapids of the Jordan, braving fatal heat and shortages of food and water before reaching Jerusalem -- but why?
The expedition followed a long tradition of quasi-scientific expeditions as it tried to establish definitively, where others had failed, that the Dead Sea lay before sea level. But did it generate enough knowledge to justify the expense or the suffering of the fifteen Americans who joined Lynch's obsessive quest? Was it the result of one man's deadly ambition? A religious pilgrimage? A publicity stunt? Or the first step in returning Muslim Palestine to its former glory as a Judeo-Christian land of milk and honey?
In vivid, absorbing detail -- richly illustrated with engaging historical drawings and maps -- Clash of Eagles masterfully recounts this seemingly foolhardy mission and America's first footsteps in the Middle East.
Lyons Press, Hardcover, 2012
THIS IS A BRAND NEW BOOK