When Tom Tugendhat was about 20, he felt he needed a better understanding of North Africa. So he traveled overland from Morocco to Israel, skipping only Libya because it wouldn’t let him in. Much of the journey he did on foot. “Why North Africa?” I asked when we spoke by phone Sunday. “Because it’s … there?” he replied half-jokingly, an echo of George Mallory’s line about climbing Mount Everest. Unlike Mallory, Mr. Tugendhat survived the trip. He mastered Arabic in Yemen and worked as a journalist in Lebanon before turning to soldiery a few years later.
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