In the spirit of T.E. Lawrence, Thesiger set out to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels. His now-classic account is invaluable to understanding the modern Middle East.
"Arabian Sands" is Wilfred Thesiger's record of his extraordinary journey through the parched "Empty Quarter" of Arabia. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Thesiger was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life-"the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets." In the spirit of T. E. Lawrence, he set out to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels. His now-classic account is invaluable to understanding the modern Middle East.
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.
"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)
Arabian Sands is an incredible book, not only for the way in which our narrator allows us to explore the arid, desolate wastelands he traverses, but because of the way in which we get to explore the narrator himself. Wilfred Thesiger - adventurer, explorer and all-around badass - is such a complex and unrelentingly interesting figure that you find yourself compelled to read on if only to find out what manner of madness he partakes in next. Fed up with the trappings of modern life, Thesiger embarked upon a personal crusade against comfort - and set out to travel through one of the last unmapped areas of the planet. Arabian Sands is the story of the Empty Quarter, of the fascinating peoples who inhabit it and of the man who hated modernity.
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