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Customer Review

129 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on desert exploration ever written, 23 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Arabian Sands (Travel Library) (Paperback)
This book features in my top ten favourites of all time. Thesiger, a quintiessential eccentric English explorer describes in this book five years spent with the Bedu of the southern Arabian Peninsula. Thesiger lived as a Bedu, he adopted their dress, walked barefoot and learned to settle into their rigid, almost ritualistic patterns. Thesiger developed a very deep respect for the Bedu as he believes that the harder the life led the purer the man, and there are not many lives that come harder than those of the Bedu. After all T.E. Lawrence described their daily struggle as 'a death in life'. During his time with the Bedu Thesiger twice crossed the Empty Quarter (Rub 'al Khali) with camels by a longer and more dangerous route than that taken by Philby and Thomas previously. Thesiger and his companions were lucky to have survived as they found themselves without food and water and a long way from a well that none of the Bedu had been to before and that only appeared on Thesiger's notoriously inaccurate map of the region. Equally fortunate was Thesiger managing to avoid the search parties of Omani tribesmen intent on driving him out of their territory, perhaps even to kill him, because he was a Christian. This is an incredible book, describing unimaginable hardships as if they were mere inconveniences, and giving a fascinating insight to a way of life that has all but disappeared as the Bedu trade in their camels for 4 wheel drives. Read this book, it is brilliant.
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