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The Sahara was the missing link in France's African Empire. The Sword and the Cross is the story of two fanatical adventurers who helped complete their country's imperial conquest. Viscomte Charles de Foucauld was a sensualist who lounged in bed eating foie gras with a silver spoon. Henri Laperrine was a stern perfectionist who lived only for soldiering. Each of them found his vocation in the desert: Foucauld found religion and an asceticism so great that even Trappism seemed too comfortable; Laperrine formed a legendary ...

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