History’s Most Inspiring Travel Books.
Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands
Unlike more fashionable travel writers, Thesiger travelled for travel’s sake alone, not for acclaim. For his absorbing Arabian Sands (1959), he crossed 650,000 square kilometres of the Empty Quarter, the largest sand desert in the world (parts of today’s Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen). Between 1945 and 1950, he lived with the local Arab people, immersed in their life and culture. Nobody argues that Wilfred Thesiger was a match for the mercurial talents of Paul Theroux or Bruce Chatwin, but Thesiger’s steely determination and deep respect for traditional ways of living shine beacon-like from every page.