Adventures of a Red Sea Smuggler, by Henry De Monfreid.

 I came across this great book a while ago and for all those who enjoy books like horse-trading, this is a winner. There are more than the obvious analogies to speculation. The book is set in a world where the price of goods, like mother of pearl, can crash from 7500 francs to 1500 and then climb back again.

I loved his quotes about human nature, gems like, "I dared not be happy; for all my life I have had to pay with sorrow for every bit of happiness I have ever known. That is the fundamental law of the destiny of man." Also, "There was no use worrying about the possible difficulties to come, they always loom very large and terrible in the distance, but when one arrives at the foot of a wall there is always some foothold that enables one to climb it."

This book is about a bored French farmer who decides to embark on a life of smuggling in search for meaning in his life. It is set in the 1920s in, as the cover says, a world populated by Chinese hermits, Greek priest smugglers, Arab robber barons and Bedouins. A classic written by a guy who ended up living well into his 90s and writing over 40 volumes of his adventures.





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