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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Following worthily in the tradition of Burton, Lawrence, Philby and Thomas, [Arabian Sands] is, very likely, the book about Arabia to end all books about Arabia."
-The Daily Telegraph, London

"The narrative is vividly written, with a thousand little anecdotes and touches which bring back to any who have seen these countries every scene with the colour of real life."
-The Sunday Times, London

Présentation de l'éditeur

In the spirit of T.E. Lawrence, Wilfred Thesiger spent five years wandering the deserts of Arabia, producing Arabian Sands, 'a memorial to a vanished past, a tribute to a once magnificent people'. The Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction by Rory Stewart. Wilfred Thesiger, repulsed by what he saw as the softness and rigidity of Western life - 'the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets' - spent years exploring in and around the vast, waterless desert that is the 'Empty Quarter' of Arabia. Travelling amongst the Bedu people, he experienced their everyday challenges of hunger and thirst, the trials of long marches beneath the relentless sun, the bitterly cold nights and the constant danger of death if it was discovered he was a Christian 'infidel'. He was the first European to visit most of the region, and just before he left the area the process that would change it forever had begun - the discovery of oil. This edition contains an introduction by Rory Stewart discussing the dangers of Thesiger's travels, his unconventional personality and his insights into the Bedouin way of life. Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger (1910-2003) was a British travel writer born in Addis Ababa in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Thesiger is best known for two travel books: Arabian Sands (1959), which recounts his travels in the Empty Quarter of Arabia between 1945 and 1950 and describes the vanishing way of life of the Bedouins, and The Marsh Arabs (1964), an account of the traditional peoples who lived in the marshlands of southern Iraq. If you enjoyed Arabian Sands, you might like T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, also available in Penguin Modern Classics 'Thesiger is perhaps the last, and certainly one of the greatest, of the British travellers among the Arabs'Sunday Times 'Following worthily in the tradition of Burton, Lawrence, Philby and Thomas, it is, very likely, the book about Arabia to end all books about Arabia'Daily Telegraph

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8daea624) étoiles sur 5 93 commentaires
99 internautes sur 99 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d997228) étoiles sur 5 Extraordinary Journeys in the "Empty Quarter" of Arabia 30 août 2001
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The deserts of Arabia cover more than a million square miles. The southern desert occupies nearly half of the total area. It stretches nine hundred miles from the frontier of the Yemen to the foothills of Oman and five hundred miles from the southern coast of Arabia to the Persian Gulf. It is a wilderness of sand, a desert within a desert, an area so enormous and so desolate that even Arabs call it the "Empty Quarter."
Wilfred Thesiger was born in Addis Ababa in 1910 and educated at Eton and Oxford. Though British, he was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life, "the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets, etc." In the spirit of T.E. Lawrence, Thesiger spent five years exploring and wandering the deserts of Arabia. With vivid descriptions and colorful anecdotes he narrates his stories, including two crossings of the Empty Quarter, among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels.
Thesiger greatly illuminates our understanding of the nomadic bedouins of Arabia. He loved, admired, respected and was humbled by a people who lived desparately hard lives in the harshest conditions with only a few possessions that might include saddles, ropes, bowls, goatskins, rifles and daggers and traveled days without food and water. Yet these people were unflappably cheerful, welcoming, generous, self-reliant, loyal and dignified. Thesiger explains why the Bedu with whom he traveled refused to forecast the weather (blasphemy against God)or could discern where to find a hare in the sand (only one set of tracks into the buried hole). As a reader I could almost sense I was traveling with Thesiger, could not help but mourn the passing of the way of life he described, and, as he, pondered the meaning of the word "civilized" as we Westerners conceive the term.
93 internautes sur 95 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d997690) étoiles sur 5 A key to understanding the Arab world 1 février 2000
Par Victor A. Vyssotsky - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Besides being a wonderful book, as other reviewers have remarked, 'Arabian Sands' is important reading for anyone who wants to understand the culture and history of the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
The Bedu are, and always have been, a small fraction of the Arabs; historically, they have been disliked, mistrusted and often hated by the settled Arabs of the Middle East. In North Africa, the Berbers (a completely different people, with non-Arabic languages) have sometimes been confused with the Bedu. The Bedu way of life is now nearly extinct; Thesiger's book, which describes his travels with the Yamani Bedu of Southern Arabia, is the only careful account of Bedu culture and Bedu peoples I have ever come across. I know of no similarly illuminating study of the Qaysi Bedu of Northern Arabia, not even the works of T. E. Lawrence.
The historical importance of the Bedu in the Arab world is that on several occasions from the 8th century to the 20th century, Bedu tribesmen formed the core of armies that swept across the Middle East and/or North Africa. Invading Bedu armies overthrew decadent regimes in North Africa in the 13th century, and effectively destroyed Berber power on the North African coast. Bedu formed the core of the Arab armies that defeated the Turks in the First World War, and were the core of the army which Ibn Saud created that turned him from being a refugee into being the founder of Saudi Arabia as it is today. How did the small number of people who comprised the various Bedu tribes exercise such military power throughout the Arab World? Read "Arabian Sands" to understand this.
52 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d9976b4) étoiles sur 5 About the spirit of the land and the greatness of the Arabs 7 juin 2001
Par wlmcmullen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
A book about "the spirit of the land and the greatness of the Arabs."
This is a must read for anyone interested in the tribal Arabs of the desert (southern Arabia). I had this book for many months until I got around to reading it and then I absolutely couldn't put it down. The excursions of Wilfred Thesiger (Umbarak) take place during the 1940s. Thesiger loved the Bedu tribes (Rashid)and he writes from the heart, which is why I think the text is so readable. You relive this phenominal experience with him. Thesiger never fit in with his own people of England. He couldn't bare to live amongst the materialistic culture he found in the western world and felt more akin with his Arab friends yet as a "Christian" he could never be one of them. His relationships with two of the Rashid in particular, bin Kabina and bin Ghabaisha and the love, admiration and loyalty he had for these two young men was very moving. Amazingly Thesiger survives many dangerous encounters while traveling in the desert with his Arab companions. How he ever survived some of these excursions is astonishing; between the lack of food, water, heat and cold exposure but mostly other hostile Arab tribes. His companions and he escape being killed by mere hours. By our western standards many people would think Thesiger's companions to ultimately be murderous and barbaric yet I have met very few westerners that held the same unbreakable code of honor that many of Thesiger's Arab companions lived by. Their generosity, faith in god, honor, dignity, strength and endurance is nothing short of amazing. They would give a stranger who stumbles upon their camp the last scrap of food and final cup of water even when starving in the desert for days. As a "westerner" reading this book I realized the immense differences in what we as a culture think is barbaric and immoral compared to these tribes of Arabia. Of course the ease at which they would kill between tribes to settle blood feuds and their "habit" of stealing camels was truly mind boggling when contrasted with their overwhelming personal ethics. As a female reader I didn't miss the lack of discussions about Arab women although I would have been very interested in the various tribal Arab woman's role as mother, wife and sister. What little I did find in the book about women sent chills up my spine. I do feel that female readers would enjoy this book none the less. Many readers will empathize with the author's sentiment as he writes about his dismay and disgust in the way the Western world has invaded the lands of these nomadic people with new mechanical inventions and infiltrated and ruined the unique beauty of this desert tribe (as well as many other indigenous tribes) which are now completely lost and irreplaceable.
34 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d9979d8) étoiles sur 5 must-read for Middle East visitors 21 janvier 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I had the opportunity to meet Sir Wilfred Thesiger while I was working in the United Arab Emirates. He had come to the city of Al-Ain to promote his book "My Kenya Days". He was about 85 years old at the time and his hearing was impaired. Yet when someone mentioned something about an incident he had written his eyes lit up and his voice got louder, and it was as if he had been taken back to the Empty Quarter amidst the camels and the bedus. I read Arabian Sands and The Marsh Arabs, (which was, in my opinion, better than Arabian Sands), after I met Thesiger, and I was moved to see a country that had changed so rapidly in such a short time. Thesiger is definitely anti-west, anti-development, anti-modern; he has lived a life that far few of us could ever imagine. I think he became anti-modern because of what wealth was doing to the Arabs and how it was eradicating vestiges of a culture that would be hard put to replace (I believe that there are currently one half of one percent of people who would classify themselves as Bedouins on the Arabian Peninsula) It is a kind of life that far few of us would want to live; going for days without water in the middle of nowhere; not bathing, not having any of the 'comforts' of life, it is hard to imagine doing what he did. Yet as I read Arabian Sands, and walked in parts of the desert around the U.A.E, I could hear, almost smell, the life Thesiger came to admire and the life that really he became for him one with the Bedu.
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d997840) étoiles sur 5 "I craved for the past, resented the present, dreaded the future" 1 juillet 2005
Par Richard Arant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
A truly magnificent book, such an easy pleasure to read in comparison to Doughty's great but exhausting work, Travels in Arabia Deserta. The author is a man in the fine tradition of T.E. Lawrence, a man who resigned from the British Political Service in the Sudan to rejoin the service as a contract officer not eligible for pension on the understanding that he would only be asked to serve in the wilderness. He served in the S.A.S. in the Western Desert, but makes only one oblique mention of that mission in this text. See Thesiger's autobiography "The Life of My Choice" for the broader picture of this unique life.

Wilfred Thesiger writes, "I went there with a belief in my own racial superiority, but in their tents I felt like an uncouth, inarticulate barbarian, an intruder from a shoddy and materialistic world." I wonder how many men among us today would agree with Thesiger's deep belief that "even today there are experiences that do not need to be justified in terms of material profit."

One passage, if even remotely true, bodes ill for our crusade to spread democracy. "Arabs rule, but do not administer. Their government is intensely individualistic, and is successful or unsuccessful according to the degree of fear and respect which the ruler commands ... Focused on an individual life, their government is impermanent and liable to end in chaos at any moment ... To these tribesmen security can be bought too dearly by loss of individual freedom ... Here the evil that comes with sudden change far outweighs the good."

Wilfred Thesiger closes by writing that leaving the remote Bedu world with which he was obsessed, The Empty Quarter, was to him an exile. It was in the stimulating harshness of an empty land that he found satisfaction. When he began to lose courage in an "intolerable" state of thirst, hunger, and fear for his life, he asked himself, "Is there really anywhere else I would rather be?"

I have met one solitary Beduwi in my life, a man imprisoned, caught up in a great tragedy. I regret that I had not read Arabian Sands before that meeting. Not that I could have helped, but I would have understood that in his eyes I was a more pitiful creature than he, "for he was Bedu and Muslim, and I was neither."

I highly recommend "Fire and Sword in the Sudan" to anyone interested in anything Wilfred Thesiger has written. I sought out that memoir, written by an officer held captive in Sudan for 12 years, because of the new world which "Arabian Sands" opened to me.
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