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Arabian Sands
Longmans, London 1959 - First edition. 46 plates, 8 maps to the text & folding map in pocket. xvi, 326 pp. 8vo. "I went to Southern Arabia only just in time." Rare signed copy in the dustjacket. Arabian Sands is Thesiger's first and most important work, recounting his crossing of the Empty Quarter under the aegis of the Middle East Anti-Locust Unit in 1946-7. Although brief reports of the journey were published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society in the late 1940s, it was only through the efforts of his friend Graham Watson and the publisher Mark Longman that Thesiger was persuaded to write a book-length account.For a decade, Thesiger had longed to explore the Empty Quarter and seized the opportunity presented by Owen Bevan Lean to accompany the Anti-Locust unit. Thesiger crossed the empty quarter twice: first in 1946-7, on a 2000 mile journey that began and ended at Salala on the south coast. He set again almost immediately in 1947, departing Manwakh well in Yemen and visited at Liwa Oasis and then to Abu Dhabi town. This included a brief imprisonment in Saudi Arabia. Arabian Sands includes accounts of both these crossings and is illustrated with Thesiger's own dramatic photographs.Thesiger, who had a revulsion to modern life, immersed himself in the country, made friends with the Arabs and travelled on foot and by camel. He states boldly in the introduction to this work, whatever their results "[future explorers] will never know the spirit of the land nor the greatness of the Arabs." Arabian Sands was received enthusiastically in the press and Thesiger himself thought it "his finest book" (ODNB). The Daily Telegraph stated: "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." Indeed, St John Philby described Thesiger as "probably the greatest of all explorers" (Maitland, 380) and Sir John Glubb regarded him "the last, and certainly one of the greatest, of the British travellers among the Arabs" (ibid.). Alexander Maitland, Wilfred Thesiger: the Life of the Great Explorer (2006) Fine original cloth, spine gilt, in very good dj, headcap chipped, some minor shelfwear 46 plates, 8 maps to the text & folding map in pocket. xvi, 326 pp. 8vo [Attributes: First Edition; Signed Copy; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: James Cummins Bookseller, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2015-11-18           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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