‘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.