Arabian Sands
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Arabian Sands

By (author) Wilfred Thesiger , Introduction by Rory Stewart

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Wilfred Thesiger was born in Addis Ababa in 1910 and educated at Eton and Oxford. Though British, he was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life, "the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets, etc." In the spirit of T.E. Lawrence, Thesiger spent five years exploring and wandering the deserts of Arabia. With vivid descriptions and colorful anecdotes he narrates his stories, including two crossings of the Empty Quarter, among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels.

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  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 26mm | 299.37g
  • 02 Jan 2008
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London
  • English
  • Reissue
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0141442077
  • 9780141442075
  • 13,171

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Author Information

Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger (1910-2003) was a British travel writer born in Addis Ababa in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Thesiger is best known for two travel books: Arabian Sands (1959), which recounts his travels in the Empty Quarter of Arabia between 1945 and 1950 and describes the vanishing way of life of the Bedouins, and The Marsh Arabs (1964), an account of the traditional peoples who lived in the marshlands of southern Iraq. Rory Stewart served briefly in the British Army and then as a diplomat in Jakarta and Montenegro. In August 2000 he resigned from the Foreign Office and began walking from Turkey towards Vietnam. His book about the walk, The Places In Between (2004), was a critically applauded account of his experiences in Afghanistan. His second book, The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq (2006), outlines his experiences as deputy governor of the Iraqi province of Maysan and Senior Advisor in the city of Nasiriyah shortly after coalition forces entered Iraq and describes his struggles to establish a functional government in these regions. Stewart has been awarded the OBE. Stewart currently lives in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Review quote

"Following worthily in the tradition of Burton, Lawrence, Philby and Thomas, ["Arabian Sands"] is, very likely, the book about Arabia to end all books about Arabia." -"The Daily Telegraph," London "The narrative is vividly written, with a thousand little anecdotes and touches which bring back to any who have seen these countries every scene with the colour of real life." -"The Sunday Times," London

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