by Freya Stark - £11.99 I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd (2010)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781848851924 | ISBN 10: 1848851928
Freya Stark is most famous for her travels in Arabia at a time when very few men, let alone women, had fully explored its vast hinterlands. In 1934, she made her first journey to the Hadhramaut in what is now Yemen - the first woman to do so alone. Even though that journey ended in disappointment, sickness and a forced rescue, Stark, undeterred, returned to Yemen two years later. Starting in Mukalla and skirting the fringes of the legendary and unexplored Empty Quarter, she spent the winter searching for Shabwa - ancient capital of the Hadhramaut and a holy grail for generations of explorers.
From within Stark's beautifully-crafted and deeply knowledgeable narrative emerges a rare and exquisitely-rendered portrait of the customs and cultures of the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. A Winter in Arabia is one of the most important pieces of literature on the region and a book that placed Freya Stark in the pantheon of great writers and explorers of the Arab World. To listen to her voice is to hear the rich echoes of a land whose 'nakedness is clothed in shreds of departed splendour'.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2019)
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In booklists: Yemen, Women Travellers and Women's Travel Writing, Women in the Middle East, Travel Writing and Guides - Middle East, In categories: World - Middle East, Feminism & Women, Poetry & Writing,