This is a tremendously interesting story because of the varying and contrasting facts and elements it introduces. Ali is a boy of the Near East and although he is Mohammedan, he has been accustomed, from earliest childhood, to people of different religions and nationalities. The time is the First World War, a period of upheaval and change in his country for the women are desirous of equality and the men are becoming interested in western science, particularly medicine. Cholera strikes Ali's home, he goes alone by caravan to Baku by the Caspian sea, and there his personal misfortunes become mixed up with the political plots of several nationalities and religions. Through it all Ali's desire to study medicine in a Christian university carries him along. Through Ali's story children will get much of the color, the extremes, the turbulence that is part of the Near East pattern.