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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An under-rated classic of desert exploration, 15 Mar 2011
By 
C. Scott - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World (Paperback)
To most Brits Wilfred Thesiger is the definitive desert explorer, but I believe Ralph Bagnold should be considered in the same category. He really was quite an exceptional guy and Libyan Sands must be the best Saharan yarn written by a Brit (although at the time Brits did not consider this as the 'Sahara' but the separate 'Libyan Desert'). It describes his motor-car adventures and explorations while stationed in Cairo in the 1920s and early 30s. Using Model T Fords loaded down at times with 150 gallons of fuel, Ralph and his chums spent every spare moment of leave exploring the Libyan Desert of Egypt and northern Sudan. His enthusiasm for (often literally) pushing the spindly, steaming Fords across uncharted ergs helped develop the desert driving techniques we still use today such as sand ladders and low tyre pressures.

What is striking is that Bagnold's passionate attraction for the desert is almost contemporary, while his drive and curiosity led, among other things, to 'The Physics of Blown Sand', the first account of sand formations and features (for geology graduates only). As WWII set in he was involved with establishing the LRDG and comes across in the much-admired mould of the self-effacing Brit hero, never complaining or boasting while enacting extraordinary feats of exploration. It is interesting to compare him to a contemporary and rival, the Hungarian Laszlo Almasy (on who the 'English Patient' character was very fictionally based) who also explored the region by car (his book 'Unknown Sahara' is available in English as a bootleg pdf).
Libyan Sands includes Bagnold's potted history of the exploration of the Libyan Desert up to that time, as well as a prescient spin on the enduring Zerzura legend. An underrated classic so it's great to see this book back in print.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Real Adventure, 5 Jun 2014
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Libyan Sands is a real adventure book, written by a British soldier stationed in Colonial Egypt between the Great Wars. He knows everyone. He is wealthy and privileged in modern 21C terms. He can buy a car, ship it to Egypt and arrange petrol, then drive with likewise supplied friends all around the Middle East. In social terms it shows a world that no longer exists. Bagnold describes the great desert, as playground, as enemy, as landscape that awaits explanation, as historical example (the slave routes out of Africa, were still marked by trail of bones, both human and camels. The slaves were driven without water for days on end, they died and were shoved to the side.) A fascinating story of the last century!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The lure of the desert., 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World (Paperback)
Having travelled the Western desert myself I was keen to take a look at some of the historical adventurers. This gives an insight into the early adventurers who discovered ancient trails which can still be seen to-day.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 3 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World (Paperback)
I enjoyed this. The narrative is mainly pacy and the struggle of man & primitive machine against the desert is inspiring. Also interesting to see how the area has so sadly changed from these more innocent times
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eland, 20 Dec 2010
By 
Mr. Brian A. Robinson (Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World (Paperback)
Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World

This book is published by Eland. I have found that any book published by this company is worth buying. I have bought quite a few.

I have no connection with the company, other than admiration for their list.
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Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World
Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World by R.A. Bagnold (Paperback - 1 Mar 2010)
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