His reputation is one of thirst for the glory of the Caliphate; cruelty in his treatment of opponents; and a system of arbitrary, autocratic rule amounting to despotism. On the inter¬national scene, he is blamed by many Arabs for entering into an alliance with an infidel power (Great Britain) to destroy an Islamic power (Turkey), to gain a throne for himself, and Hashemite hegemony by gaining thrones for his sons at the expense of Palestinian interests.
There is no doubt that, as King of Hejaz, he left much to be desired: the steady collapse of his Kingdom is carefully chronicled in this study. There is thus no doubt that the annexation of Hejaz by King Abdulaziz ibn Saud between 1924 and 1926 was not only inevitable: it was also highly desirable. However, Husain's role as a spokesman for the Arab nationalist cause (and especially with regard to the Palestine Question) has been misrepresented. Dr Randall Baker contends that Husain opposed British and French territorial ambitions, and was so intransigent on Palestine that he lost his throne and fortune for his principles. He died in exile a broken man, whose memory in one respect at least has been sorely abused. This book concludes that the Arab cause was not still born by 'sell-out' on the part of Husain. Though Syrians and Iraqis opposed his views and would not have desired him as a ruler, he represented their cause honestly and at great cost, to be remembered now for the loss of Palestine, which he never condoned. Husain and Hejaz, in most studies of the period, appear in relation only to the McMahon correspondence or the Arab Revolt, King Husam and the Kingdom of Hejaz links the rise and fall of both monarch and state in such a way as to answer, finally, the slur of 'traitor' cast at Husain of Hejaz.