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The Southern Gates of Arabia
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'It's hard to think of a writer in the travel game who most closely demonstrates the merits of Flaubert's three rules for good writing: clarity, clarity and finally clarity. Re-reading her now, her restrained powers of description shine as brightly as they ever did, and they will continue to shine until the next Ice Age... Her books are more relevant than ever. Besides sheer enjoyment, one should read her for a fresh perspective on the intractable issues dogging Christian-Muslim relations. She was able to see both sides and what she found was similarity, not difference. The greatest woman traveller of the 20th century? I think so.' - Sara Wheeler, The Times; 'This book recaptures all the romance, beauty and primitive atmosphere of that still unspoilt Arabia of spices ... and the high-walled cities and little-known desert stretches.' - Irish Times; 'Extraordinarily rich and authoritative ... a book to treasure' - New York Times; 'There aren't many writers who rise so clearly above the teeming marketplace of travellers as Freya Stark' - The Spectator; 'Freya Stark unites in one mind the traveller, the historian, the philosopher and the poet' - TLS; 'The Hadhramaut is still unfamiliar ... No outsider has caught its spirit as gently and wonderingly as did Freya' - Tim Mackintosh-Smith; 'It was rare to leave her company without feeling that the world was somehow larger and more promising. Her life was something of a work of art - The books in which she recorded her journeys were seductively individual - Nomad and social lioness, public servant and private essayist, emotional victim and mythmaker.' - Colin Thubron, NY Times; 'Few writers have the capacity to do with words what Faberge could do with gems--to fashion them, without violating their quality. It is this extraordinary talent which sets Freya Stark apart from her fellow craftsman in the construction of books on travel.' - The Daily Telegraph; 'Freya Stark remains unexcelled as an interpreter of brief encounters in wild regions against the backdrop of history.' - The Observer; 'It is... as the writer of beautiful, measured prose rather than as a traveller or as an exotic 'character' who wore Dior in the wilder reaches of Asia and Arabian dress in London, that Freya Stark will ultimately be remembered.' - The Independent; 'One of the finest travel writers of our century.' - The New Yorker; '[Freya Stark] writes angelically in the great tradition of Charles Doughty and T. E. Lawrence. The pulse quickens as you read, because she can bring the sights and sounds of incredible countries before you in the twinkling of an eye.' - The New York Times Book Review; 'A Middle East traveler, an explorer and, above all, a writer, Freya Stark has, with an incomparably clear eye, looked toward the horizon of the past without ever losing sight of the present. Her books are route plans of a perceptive intelligence, traversing time and space with ease.' - Saudi Aramco World

Table of Contents

Author's Note Introduction: The Incense Road 1. The Arabian Coast 2. Landing 3. The Beduin Campat the Gate of Makalla 4. Life in the City 5. I Leav efort he Interior 6. The Mansab of Thile 7. The Way to the Jol 8. The Beduin of Kor Saiban 9. The Jol 10. Nights on the Jol 11. Life in Do'an 12. Khuraiba and Robat 13. Sickness in the Fortress of Masna'a 14. The Ride to Hajarain 15. Tlie Mansab of Meshed 16. Into the Wadi Hadhramaut 17. Shibam 18. Sewun 19. Tarim 20. Departure from Friends 21. Into Wadi 'Amd 22. Huraidha in 'Amd 23. 'Andal 24. Breakdown in Shibam 25. Visitors 26. Shabwa Renounced 27. Flight from the Valley Appendix. Notes on the Southern Incense Route of Arabia List of Books Referred to in Appendix Index

Promotional Information

Edged by the fearsome Empty Quarter to the North, the Arabian Sea to the South and resting on layers of history that stretch back to the dawn of human civilisation, the Hadhramaut is one of the wildest and most remote parts of Arabia, little-changed from when Freya Stark travelled there over 70 years ago.

About the Author

Freya Stark (1893-1993), 'the poet of travel', was the doyenne of middle East travel writers. Her travels earned her the title of dame and huge public acclaim. Her many, now classic, books include Traveller's Prelude, Ionia, The Southern Gates of Arabia, Alexander's Path, Dust in the Lion's Paw, East is West and Valleys of the Assassins.

Reviews

'It's hard to think of a writer in the travel game who most closely demonstrates the merits of Flaubert's three rules for good writing: clarity, clarity and finally clarity. Re-reading her now, her restrained powers of description shine as brightly as they ever did, and they will continue to shine until the next Ice Age... Her books are more relevant than ever. Besides sheer enjoyment, one should read her for a fresh perspective on the intractable issues dogging Christian-Muslim relations. She was able to see both sides and what she found was similarity, not difference. The greatest woman traveller of the 20th century? I think so.' - Sara Wheeler, The Times; 'This book recaptures all the romance, beauty and primitive atmosphere of that still unspoilt Arabia of spices ... and the high-walled cities and little-known desert stretches.' - Irish Times; 'Extraordinarily rich and authoritative ... a book to treasure' - New York Times; 'There aren't many writers who rise so clearly above the teeming marketplace of travellers as Freya Stark' - The Spectator; 'Freya Stark unites in one mind the traveller, the historian, the philosopher and the poet' - TLS; 'The Hadhramaut is still unfamiliar ... No outsider has caught its spirit as gently and wonderingly as did Freya' - Tim Mackintosh-Smith; 'It was rare to leave her company without feeling that the world was somehow larger and more promising. Her life was something of a work of art - The books in which she recorded her journeys were seductively individual - Nomad and social lioness, public servant and private essayist, emotional victim and mythmaker.' - Colin Thubron, NY Times; 'Few writers have the capacity to do with words what Faberge could do with gems--to fashion them, without violating their quality. It is this extraordinary talent which sets Freya Stark apart from her fellow craftsman in the construction of books on travel.' - The Daily Telegraph; 'Freya Stark remains unexcelled as an interpreter of brief encounters in wild regions against the backdrop of history.' - The Observer; 'It is... as the writer of beautiful, measured prose rather than as a traveller or as an exotic 'character' who wore Dior in the wilder reaches of Asia and Arabian dress in London, that Freya Stark will ultimately be remembered.' - The Independent; 'One of the finest travel writers of our century.' - The New Yorker; '[Freya Stark] writes angelically in the great tradition of Charles Doughty and T. E. Lawrence. The pulse quickens as you read, because she can bring the sights and sounds of incredible countries before you in the twinkling of an eye.' - The New York Times Book Review; 'A Middle East traveler, an explorer and, above all, a writer, Freya Stark has, with an incomparably clear eye, looked toward the horizon of the past without ever losing sight of the present. Her books are route plans of a perceptive intelligence, traversing time and space with ease.' - Saudi Aramco World

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