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Wilfred Thesiger: A Life in Pictures [Hardcover]

Alexander Maitland , Wilfred Thesiger
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Nov 2004

‘One of the very few people who in our time could be put on the pedestal of the great explorers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’ David Attenborough

An exquisite pictorial record, charting the career and outstanding achievements of one of the country’s most distinguished travel writers and photographers, and the twentieth century’s greatest explorer.

Sir Wilfred Thesiger was born in 1910 at the original British Legation – a collection of wattle-and-daub tukuls – in Addis Ababa, and spent his early years in Abyssinia. He was educated at Eton and Oxford and at the age of twenty attended the coronation of HIM Haile Selassie at the emperor’s personal invitation. Three years later he made his first expedition into the country of the murderous Danakil tribe. He joined the Sudan political service in 1935 and served in the War in Abyssinia and the Middle East with Special Operations Executive and the Special Air Service under David Stirling.

After that, he traversed the Empty Quarter twice whilst living among the Bedu, and spent several years with the Marshmen of Iraq. He made many mountain journeys in the awesome ranges of the Karakorams, the Hindu Kush, Ladakh and Chitral. Following these varied and often dangerous adventures among fast-disappearing cultures, Thesiger settled down to spend over twenty years living among the pastoral Samburu in Kenya, until returning to England in 1994. He died in Surrey in August 2003.

Over the years Thesiger’s experiences provided rich material for several books, all received with great acclaim. His always loved to record his exploits on film, and his nationally recognized collection of photographs now resides at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. This beautifully produced, coffee-table book contains 250 of his most stunning images, which capture the spirit of a bygone era. These are accompanied by Thesiger’s own recollections, his vivid prose expressing a romantic but austere vision.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (15 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002572249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002572248
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,088,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Praise for Desert, Marsh and Mountain:

‘His sensual delight in the harsh world of the nomad is apparent in his exquisite photography’
Daily Telegraph

Praise for My Kenya Days:

‘Magnificent photographs… displaying a reverence for their subject matter, both human and inanimate’
Sunday Telegraph

Evening Standard

'wonderful book...a convincing and eminently readable portrait of a complicated, highly idiosyncratic man' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars thesiger 18 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This pictorial book of 200 pictures, published in 2004, by Thesigers authorised biographer is a pale shadow of Thesigers own book of 700 pictures namely "Visions of a Nomad"publshed in1987.
This book has a 50 page biography then 200 pictures which can only be considered secondd best as thesigers best pictures,by his own admission,are in "Visions of a Nomad"
The biography section of the book is good and gives a pretty detailed account of his life of exploration and adventure while the pictu]res are are only classifed by place-Africa,Asia or Arabia -By minute type at the bottom of the page.
Not to be recommended get the1987 book instead.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unique 28 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There can never be another Wilfred Thesiger. What he did and competently photographed are particular to his time. A unique record.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good on content poor on printing 27 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The images themselves and text are excellent. However the quality of printing leaves soemthing to be desired, and so detracts from the impact that the images should have.
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