27 May 2008

Epic Englishman

Some men love people. Others have a fondness for things. And then there are those who love places most of all. I think the English explorer Wilfred Thesiger (1910-2003) probably fell into the last category. Born in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and educated at Eton and Oxford, Thesiger spent a lifetime exploring Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. His many books, such as Arabian Sands (1959) and Marsh Arabs (1964), are testament to his wanderings and keen insights. He was a talented photographer. Thesiger twice crossed the Empty Quarter of the Arabian peninsula by foot and camel. An aristocrat who maintained a flat in Chelsea and who wore impeccable three-piece suits and tweed jackets from Savile Row, he sympathised strongly with savage peoples untouched by modernity. I highly recommend his outstanding autobiography, A Life of My Choice (1987). Great and unsusual men like Thesiger are increasingly rare in a shrinking, homogenised world. I doubt we will ever see his kind again.

5 comments:

John said...

Nice post, Trad.

suzannemarques said...

Hemingway makes me fall in love with places.. but I think he may fall under all the guidelines you specify.

i'll check out his book...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rec., seems good, I'll look into it. Let me hereby return the favour and recommend a nice book to you, too: it has a plethora of good olde fashioned adventure in it, from a time when Britannia still ruled the waves and commanded the largest empire in human history:

Auto-hagiography
Confessions

All the best, Freiherr v.B.

Anonymous said...

I hope to someday have as many miles on my face...well traveled miles...

-Brett
www.sportinglifemag.com

Gabriela said...

He sounds fascinating as I'm sure his book must be. I'll try to find it. Thanks!