Arabian Sands

Arabian Sands In the spirit of T E Lawrence Wilfred Thesiger spent five years wandering the deserts of Arabia producing Arabian Sands a memorial to a vanished past a tribute to a once magnificent people The Pen

  • Title: Arabian Sands
  • Author: Wilfred Thesiger Rory Stewart
  • ISBN: 9780141442075
  • Page: 434
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the spirit of T.E Lawrence, Wilfred Thesiger spent five years wandering the deserts of Arabia, producing Arabian Sands, a memorial to a vanished past, a tribute to a once magnificent people The Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction by Rory Stewart.Wilfred Thesiger, repulsed by what he saw as the softness and rigidity of Western life the machines, theIn the spirit of T.E Lawrence, Wilfred Thesiger spent five years wandering the deserts of Arabia, producing Arabian Sands, a memorial to a vanished past, a tribute to a once magnificent people The Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction by Rory Stewart.Wilfred Thesiger, repulsed by what he saw as the softness and rigidity of Western life the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets spent years exploring in and around the vast, waterless desert that is the Empty Quarter of Arabia Travelling amongst the Bedu people, he experienced their everyday challenges of hunger and thirst, the trials of long marches beneath the relentless sun, the bitterly cold nights and the constant danger of death if it was discovered he was a Christian infidel He was the first European to visit most of the region, and just before he left the area the process that would change it forever had begun the discovery of oil.This edition contains an introduction by Rory Stewart discussing the dangers of Thesiger s travels, his unconventional personality and his insights into the Bedouin way of life.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.If you enjoyed Arabian Sands, you might like T.E Lawrence s Seven Pillars of Wisdom, also available in Penguin Modern Classics Thesiger is perhaps the last, and certainly one of the greatest, of the British travellers among the Arabs Sunday Times Following worthily in the tradition of Burton, Lawrence, Philby and Thomas, it is, very likely, the book about Arabia to end all books about Arabia Daily Telegraph

    One thought on “Arabian Sands”

    1. It was at school that we were given an excerpt of Arabian Sands to read, a passage detailing the peoples who had lurked on the fringes of Arabia Felix without actually controlling it, coming across the book at the town library I borrowed it and read on.Wilfred Thesiger travelled backwards and forwards across the Empty Quarter of southern Arabia in the late 1940s and early 50s. With the subsequent discovery and extraction of oil this is now a record of a vanished world.Coming from a privileged Br [...]

    2. I like to browse through my books on a Sunday morning for some strange reason and came across this book that I read when I was working in Saudi Arabia and, as I had also met the bedouin and taken tea with them, I was interested to hear about Thesiger's travels in that country. It's such an interesting study of the Saudi culture by a travel writer, and also an explorer, such as Thesiger, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Middle East.It's also good to see that this book is stil [...]

    3. Wilfred Thesiger was born a few centuries too late, given his enterprising spirit and his thirst for the pristine lands, untouched by human development. His is the temperament and the dogged determination that had led men to reject the comfort of home and the perks of civilized society and prefer to sweat and toil in the harshest climates for no other reason that the maps showed a blank space in that region. Empires were built by men like Thesiger, driven by the need to claim to be the first to [...]

    4. When I first came across this book in the library I was unsuspecting of the journey it would take me on, but I find, now that I have been on that journey, I am all the richer for it.Wilfred Thesiger was wonderful company as I rolled along on a camel beside him, not literally of course, taking in the sights of a desert that has long since been tarnished by the west.If you want to learn about the Bedu, and more indirectly the Arabs, then there is no greater book for that than Arabian Sands. You wi [...]

    5. “…There was a very lovely girl working with the others on the well. Her hair was braided, except where it was cut in a fringe across her forehead, and fell in a curtain of small plaits round her neck. She wore various silver ornaments and several necklaces, some of large cornelians, others of small white beads. Round her waist she had half a dozen silver chains, and above them her sleeveless blue tunic gaped open to show small firm breasts. She was very fair. When she saw I was trying to tak [...]

    6. Thesiger’s book is about a time, right after many people thought most of the great adventures had already been had and right before the frontiers of the desert sands were truly closed off. The book was one man’s love affair with the hardship of desert sand and the people who had called it their home -- the Bedu. I came to this book at a strange time. At a time when one journey was ending and another beginning. Strangely, I didn’t know what to make of the journey that had just ended. I doub [...]

    7. I love travelogues, but this one took a while for me to get into. Obviously, I am not that interested in the arid sandy deserts or in the lives of the people who live there. But Thesiger draws me into his story gradually. His respect for the people who guided him around the Sands at the height of colonialism, his acceptance of cultural differences, and his ability in adapting comfortably, all endeared him to me, despite his crotchety attitude at times.Wilfred Thesiger was given an assignment to [...]

    8. Wilfred Thesiger, the author of Arabian Sands, is without question the Real Deal. After being trained as a British secret agent and fighting behind enemy lines in the SAS during World War II, he set out to explore the Empty Quarter of the Arabian peninsula, the largest sand desert in the world. Travelling by foot and on camels with nomadic Bedouin tribes, he crossed and recrossed about 250,000 miles of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet. He was a man of deeds, not words; it took months [...]

    9. Hmmm, well, I guess I can't honestly recommend this. Undoubtedly the journeys were fascinating and worthy of a certain amount of awe, but I didn't enjoy the writing. For starters, Thesiger devoted little energy to visually describing things. There was the occasional remark about the color of the dunes, and a some attempts at describing camels, the all-important ships of the desert. But when I read a book about a trip I'll probably never take, I want to feel like I'm there, and Thesiger either di [...]

    10. In Arabian Sands Thesiger documents a time, a place, and a people on the cusp of change. Largely responsible for mapping the 250,000 square miles of the largest sand desert in the world, The Empty Quarter, in the area of modern Yemen, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman, Thesiger realized that his work hastened the demise of the way of life he loved."Regretfully, however, I realize that the maps I made helped others, with more material aims, to visit and corrupt a people whose spirit once lit the desert [...]

    11. After the Second World War, Thesiger spent five years criss-crossing the deserts of Arabia in particular the 'Empty Quarter'. He had an unconventional life; born in Addis Ababa in Abyssinia, he spent the war in the region ending up in the SAS, before falling in love with the place and deciding to spend more time exploring it. He travelled with the Bedouin people, or as he calls them Bedu, experiencing their daily challenges of extreme heat, ice cold nights, long treks with camels under the relen [...]

    12. في الواجهة الخلفية لهذا الكتاب "الرمال العربية" تظهر صورة للمؤلف الرحالة البريطاني "ويلفرد ثيسجر "و الذي أطلق عليه أصدقاءه البدو اسم " مبارك بن لندن" .يظهر مبارك في الصورة و هو مرتدي الدشداشة العمانية و مصرا و خنجرا و ممسكا بعصا ، و اكتسب وجهه سحنة البدو بعد أن عركته الحياة الصح [...]

    13. Nearly every listing of the best best travel books mentions this book. And it is no surprise: There is nothing quite like it. Most travel book contains vivid descriptions of the landscape. While Thesiger's occasionally describes the deserts physical details, the book is really a study of its the psychological landscape it creates. "I realized that for me the fascination of this journey lay not in seeing the seeing the country but in seeing it under these conditions." Over the course of three or [...]

    14. Superb read. Was initially unsure of Rory Stewart's intro but after reading to the end I understood his views on Thesiger as a writer much more clearly. This is travel for travel's sake and very much akin to a purist view which almost overshadows the sheer achievement and incredible adversity, the latter Thesiger takes in his stride. A wonderful opening into an Arabia already changing and changed by the west and the advent of oil.A book for those truly interested in the deserts, but expect Thesi [...]

    15. There are several things I look for in a travel book experience: adventure, a smooth narrative, excitement and for the writer to get down to observing and understanding the people and place he/she is in without the eyes of a westerner. Strangely enough, I found it in Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands. Much has been said about Thesiger the man, the explorer, the throwback to the Victorian era, and before I opened the book, I cast everything I had heard about the man aside and read it with an ope [...]

    16. It is easy to dismiss a book that presents a world no longer in existence, the Middle East of the late 1940s. The sands were governed by the ways of Bedouins and tribes and sheiks and sultans and the various alliances and enmities that existed. But this region that is mostly Oman today has only existed as it is now for so short a period of time that the reality portrayed by Wilfred Thesiger, a British civil servant who used his day job to allow him to explore areas of the world mostly unknown to [...]

    17. I enjoyed the old-fashioned, straightforward (i.e. unironic and "meta"less), almost Hemingway-esque narrative of the tough old Victorian Luddite accompanied by loyal, noble Bedu Even felt ashamed of my own unadventurousness Then began to wonder what was going on behind the narrative: Was Thesiger gay? Was he a kind of very dedicated sexual tourist (the kind you often see in Southeast Asia nowadays)? Why'd he insist on all the dangerous trips? If he loved Arabia so much, why couldn't he follow th [...]

    18. ولفريد تيسيجر ولد في الحبشة فأصبح لدية خبره قي عادات وتقاليد القبائل في الحبشة وجيبوتي وكان حلم حياته الربع الخالي يحكي كيف تبدأ رحلته من الحجاز الى اليمن ومن اليمن الى عمان في محاولة الوصول الى الربع الخالي ذكر لنا الأحداث والمغامرات التي مر بها من قوه تحمل عطش وجوع و الابت [...]

    19. I enjoyed reading about the near past of this region I live in. The book covers Thesiger's explorations of Yemen, The Empty Quarter, Oman, and parts of the then Trucial States from about 1945 to 1950. He was the first Westerner to explore some of the areas and did it as a traveller with Beduin companions. Even though he was born to British parents (stationed in Africa at the time of his birth), and educated in the UK, he said that he was most at home in the Arabian Desert. He was friends with Sh [...]

    20. If you care to read about the wisdom and meekness of the Desert and its Bedu people, Arabian Sands is your Bible. This enchanted and spiritual volume completely satisfied my hunger for the romanticism and mysticism of travel and brought the dreamlike and psyhedelic part of the Arab world directly to my heart. Thesiger is an extraordinary bloke, stubborn in his pursuit of adventure and uncompromising in his extreme rules of assimilation. Living with the nomadic Arab tribes of the Empty Quarter be [...]

    21. Travel books like this make me realize what a wuss I am. "Arabian Sands" is 330 plainspoken and inspiring pages about "find[ing] peace in the hardship of desert travel and the company of desert peoples." In the midst of criss-crossing the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, under constant threat of starvation, dehydration, or enemy raiders (or all of the above), Thesiger finds time to muse on Arab hospitality, hawking, and the occasional merits of sewing up a camel's anus. He scorns the adva [...]

    22. Thesiger isn't a wordsmith, but he sure can wax lyrical about sand and camels. Usually I'm skeptical of the "white dude realizes his culture is superficial/grossly consumeristic and seeks enlightenment in Savage Territories" topos -- although I empathize with his feeling of displacement -- but the author's understated, matter-of-fact prose and authentic love of the desert and its people keep him from falling into the Exotic Other trap. The real selling part for me was the friendship he built wit [...]

    23. Wilfred Thesiger is one of the really great travellers ever. This book details his adventures and explorations in hitherto untraveled reaches of the Saudi Arabian deserts in the 1940's.He writes beautifully about the culture and nomadic existence of the Bedu people who populate this region. It is a superb account of the way of life of the now extinct Bedu way. Thesiger laments the demise of the life of the Bedu due to the riches brought about by the discovery of oil in the 40's and 50s.A must re [...]

    24. An amazing story! I savored every word, description, character met, and landscape. It's not often I sit back and thoroughly, and slowly, enjoy a read. I feel privileged to have 'met' these characters and 'traveled' through Arabia before the oil companies and modernization changed the landscape and the people. A beautiful story.

    25. The Last of the Barefoot ExplorersWhen I was a kid I dreamt of being an explorer. Never mind that I had never been out of New England and had no possibility of doing so. Discovering new lands and peoples seemed such a great job. What I couldn't figure out was how you got BE an explorer ? What, did you take a course someplace ? Once, in talking of other things, my father happened to remark that there must have been parts of the Maine woods where nobody had ever set foot (I don't think he was cons [...]

    26. Interesting to get to know more about life in the desert, the mountains, the wadi’s in the 50. Amazing what Wilfred Thesiger did and went through to be able to write this all down. The style of writing isn’t that haunting to keep on reading.

    27. The book gives a detail information about the English traveler and explorer Wilfred Thesiger and his travels in Arabia. Until the end of the book ,I did not understand why he traveled in Arabia living among the bedue going through tremendous hardship. Some thought he was a spy, oil companies looked at him in suspicion as he might be surveying areas for oil exploration, governments did not want him in their lands, tribes treated him as infidel and did not want him in their land, but he did not ca [...]

    28. "The country grew more arid; every plant and bush was dead. Skeletons of trees, brittle powdery branches, fallen and half buried in the drifting sand, and deposits of silt left by ancient floods, but now as dry as ashes, marked the course of Umm al Hait, ‘The Mother of Life’, the great trunk wadi which leads down to Mughshin. Nothing stirred, not even a lizard, for here there had been twenty-five years of unbroken drought."No one could have written about the arid landscapes of the Arabian de [...]

    29. This was written in 1959 by Thesiger, some 10 years following his nearly 5-year exploration of the Arabian Desert, or as some refer to it, the Empty Quarter. The territory stretches roughly 600 by 400 miles, from Yemen in the SW and Oman in the SE through much of Saudi Arabia and up to Dubai and the UAE.Thesiger was English, but grew up in the Mid East. His book makes clear that he loved riding camels, being with the natives, and almost enjoyed the flies, lack of water, suffering through sand st [...]

    30. I did not expect to enjoy this book. It's not the sort of thing I normally read, and I only picked it up because I thought it would help with some research I was doing. It did help me with my research, but it also turned out to be a really good book. Where I had thought turning each page would be a chore, I found myself reading entire chapters in a sitting. Thesiger's spare prose is perfectly suited to the stark landscape and stoic peoples he describes. Brutally honest, he ruthlessly catalogs th [...]

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