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Wilfred Thesiger

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Wilfred Thesiger

Alexander Maitland

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ISBN 13: 9781590201633
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Hardcover
Overlook
10/13/2011

Product Description

Wilfred Thesiger (1910-2003), the last of the great gentlemen explorer-adventurers, journeyed for sixty years to some of the remotest, most dangerous places on earth from the mountains of western Asia to the marshes of Iraq. The author of Arabian Sands and The Marsh Arabs and The Life of my Choice, he was a legend in his own lifetime but his character and motivations have remained an intriguing enigma.

In this authorized biography--written with Thesiger’s support before he died in 2003 and with unique access to the rich Thesiger archive--Alexander Maitland investigates this fascinating figure’s family influences, his wartime experiences, his philosophy as a hunter and conservationist, his writing and photography, his friendships with Arabs and Africans amongst whom he lived, and his now-acknowledged homosexuality.

ALEXANDER MAITLAND was a close friend of Thesiger for forty years. He edited Thesiger’s anthology, My Life and Travels and helped produce Thesiger’s My Kenya Days: The Danakil Diary. He is the author of biographies of Freya Stark and John Hanning Speke.



"For Maitland, Thesinger's friend and literary collaborator for 40 years, this biography is clearly a labor of love. But it is also balanced, and doesn't avoid Thesinger's quirks or limitations . . . A superb tribute to an admirable but enigmatic man." --Booklist

"Biographies of famous travelers—and Mr. Maitland's Wilfred Thesiger is an especially good example of the genre—are always an excuse to ponder first principles . . . Mr. Maitland has interesting things to say about all the books, noting the way, for example, in which the autobiography,The Life of My Choice (1987), embellishes without ever quite betraying its original material." -- The Wall Street Journal

"Maitland's respect for his friend shines through all 544 pages ofWilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer . . . In this biography, Maitland paints a portrait of Thesiger detailed in a way that only the work of a close friend could be . . . Maitland puts his work in order, preserving Thesiger's calm fascination with his travels while filling in the accounts with excerpts from letters, photographs, reports and interviews. The result is a striking and thorough biography of one of Britain's last great explorers." --Shelf Awareness

"It's the inner journey that resonates most in this sweeping biography of a late exemplar of the British yen for exotic self-exile . . . Maitland (Speke and the Discovery of the Source of the Nile), Thesiger's longtime friend and editor, serves up a vivid account of his adventures and a perceptive portrait of a complex man--ebullient hunter, repressed homosexual, man's man, and spiritual seeker who hoped that desert sand would scour clean his soul . . . The scenery is magnificent, and Thesiger makes for a charismatic travel companion." --Publishers Weekly

"For those nostalgic about for the glory days of the British empire, this biography should have a certain appeal."-- Kirkus

"Masterly."--Ben Macintyre, The Times

"This book is a worthy testament to an exceptional life . . . someone who evoked complete worlds of brutal majesty."--The Independent on Sunday

"Maitland has done justice to an extraordinary subject."--The Scotsman

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