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White GoldRead about the other books on the list.
by Giles Milton
Every so often, it is tonic to read an honest-to-Pete, can-you-believe-this historical account of nightmarish events. "White Gold" is such a book. The prolific English travel writer and historian Giles Milton describes with riveting immediacy the ordeal of Thomas Pellow, who, along with his English shipmates, was taken prisoner by Barbary Coast slave traders at war with Christendom in the early years of the 18th century. Pellow wound up in the service of Moulay Ismail, the sadistic sultan of Morocco, for 23 years -- making for more than two decades of grisly adventures and near-death experiences. "White Gold" offers a topsy-turvy view of a decadent Islamic empire in which orthodoxy fights a losing battle with the temptations of the flesh.