Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

The southern Arabian desert, a quarter million square miles of sand (650,000 square kilometers), is now a place of oil wells and Land Rovers, but before the 1950s it was still known as the Empty Quarter, a place you entered only on camel and only as an Arab. Only a few white men had ever seen it, much less crossed it. From 1945 to 1950, the British Thesiger crossed it twice, living with the Bedouin, sharing their hard lives. His book is the classic of desert exploration, a door opening on a vanished feudal world. It is a book of touches, little things-why the Bedouin will never predict the weather ("since to do so would be to claim knowledge that belongs to God"), how they know when the rabbit is in its hole and can be caught. It is written with great respect for these people and with an understanding that acknowledges its limits. With humility, that is, which is appropriate. Fail the humility test, and the desert will surely kill you.

The 971st greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 5th on Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time (National Geographic Adventure Magazine)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
Arabian Sands (Penguin Classics) Paperback 129230 $9.37 $5.99 2008
Arabian Sands Hardcover 1036102 $49.95 $7.65
Arabian Sands Mass Market Paperback 12572234 $44.96
Arabian Sands (Penguin Classics) Kindle Edition 81493 $9.96 2008
Arabian Sands: Revised Edition (Travel Library) Paperback 1151834 $9.00 $0.01 1985
Arabian Sands Hardcover 1556221 $4.94
Arabian Sands: The Great Classic of Desert Literature Hardcover 3843653 $134.82 $6.83 1984
Arabian Sands Hardcover 5090013 $524.39 $5.27 1983
Arabian Sands Paperback 11747141 $10.92
Thesiger in Arabia (The Marsh Arabs, Arabian Sands) Hardcover 2977200 $55.00 2005
Arabian Sands Hardcover 3682665 $49.95 $49.94
Arabian Sands Paperback 9066251 $1.95
Arabian Sands Paperback 4820748 $52.68 $0.85 1981
Thesiger in Arabia: The Marsh Arabs and Arabian Sands Hardcover 4823617 $65.00 $64.95 2005