Richard Burton's life offers dazzling riches. He was one of the greatest Victorian explorers, an innovative translator and brilliant linguist, a prolific travel writer, a pioneer in the fields of anthropology and sexual psychology, a mesmeric lover, a spy and a publisher of erotica.
Fawn Brodie has created a vivid portrait of this remarkable man, who emerges from the richly textured fabric of his time. His travels to Mecca and Medina dressed as a Muslim pilgrim, his witnessing of the human sacrifices at Dahomey and his unlikely but loving partnership with his pious Catholic bride are all treated with warmth, scholarship and understanding.
Fawn Brodie was born a Mormon in Ogden, Utah, in 1915. She attended the universities of Utah and Chicago. Her prize-winning No Man Knows My History, the life of the Mormon founder Joseph Smith, was published in 1945. Afterwards, at her own wish, she was excommunicated from the Mormon Church, but was nevertheless elected a Fellow of the Utah Historical Society in 1967. Her other works include a critical edition of Burton's The City of the Saints, a best-selling biography of Thomas Jefferson and an acclaimed study of Richard Nixon. She died in 1981.