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Book Title: Three Views of Oman: Society and Religion 1945 - 2006|
ISBN 13: 9781931764292
The author of the book: Wilfred Thesiger
Edition: Broadway Publications
Date of issue: March 1st 2012
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 535 KB
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Collected here for the first time is a history of images of Oman, one of the most developed and stable countries in the Arab world and among the earliest adherents to Islam. A sultanate, the country sits along the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula. From early days of world trade through the port of Muscat to contemporary engagement with international diplomacy and the West, Oman has always evoked beauty and mystery in equal measure. This art-house quality volume reveals an intimate picture of the country as its contours emerged over the last 80 years in the eyes of the West, as captured in images by English explorer Wilfred Thesiger in the 1940s and ‘50s, British Army major Charles Butt in the 1960s, and award-winning American documentary photographer Edward Grazda in the first decade of this new century.
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Read information about the authorSir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, CBE, DSO, was a British explorer and travel writer born in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
Thesiger was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford University where he took a third in history. Between 1930 and 1933, Thesiger represented Oxford at boxing and later (1933) became captain of the Oxford boxing team.
In 1930, Thesiger returned to Africa, having received a personal invitation by Emperor Haile Selassie to attend his coronation. He returned again in 1933 in an expedition, funded in part by the Royal Geographical Society, to explore the course of the Awash River. During this expedition, he became the first European to enter the Aussa Sultanate and visit Lake Abbe.
Afterwards, in 1935, Thesiger joined the Sudan Political Service stationed in Darfur and the Upper Nile. He served in several desert campaigns with the Sudan Defence Force (SDF) and the Special Air Service (SAS) with the rank of major.
In World War II, Thesiger fought with Gideon Force in Ethiopia during the East African Campaign. He was awarded the DSO for capturing Agibar and its garrison of 2500 Italian troops. Afterwards, Thesiger served in the Long Range Desert Group during the North African Campaign.
There is a rare wartime photograph of Thesiger in this period. He appears in a well-known photograph usually used to illustrate the badge of the Greek Sacred Squadron. It is usually captioned 'a Greek officer of the Sacred Band briefing British troops'. The officer is recognisably the famous Tsigantes and one of the crowd is recognisably Thesiger. Thesiger is the tall figure with the distinct nasal profile. Characteristically, he is in Arab headdress. Thesiger was the liaison officer to the Greek Squadron.
In 1945, Thesiger worked in Arabia with the Desert Locusts Research Organisation. Meanwhile, from 1945 to 1949, he explored the southern regions of the Arabian peninsula and twice crossed the Empty Quarter. His travels also took him to Iraq, Persia (now Iran), Kurdistan, French West Africa, Pakistan, and Kenya. He returned to England in the 1990s and was knighted in 1995.
Thesiger is best known for two travel books. Arabian Sands (1959) recounts his travels in the Empty Quarter of Arabia between 1945 and 1950 and describes the vanishing way of life of the Bedouins. The Marsh Arabs (1964) is an account of the Madan, the indigenous people of the marshlands of southern Iraq. The latter journey is also covered by his travelling companion, Gavin Maxwell, in A Reed Shaken By The Wind — a Journey Through the Unexplored Marshlands of Iraq (Longman, 1959).
Thesiger took many photographs during his travels and donated his vast collection of 25,000 negatives to the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.
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