Sons of Sindbad: An Account of Sailing with the Arabs in their Dhows, in the Red Sea, round the Coast of Arabia, and the Zanzibar and Tanganyika; Pearling in the Persian Gulf; and the Life of the Shipmasters and the Mariners of Kuwait

Sons of Sindbad: An Account of Sailing with the Arabs in their Dhows, in the Red Sea, round the Coast of Arabia, and the Zanzibar and Tanganyika; Pearling in the Persian Gulf; and the Life of the Shipmasters and the Mariners of Kuwait

by Alan Villiers
     
 

Alan Villiers (1903-82), the Australian sailor and maritime historian, first made a name for himself as an adventurer in the 1920s and 1930s by combining his seafaring skills with his talent as a pioneering photojournalist. He visited Arabia in 1938 because he was certain that he was living through the last days of sail, and was determined to record as much of them

Overview

Alan Villiers (1903-82), the Australian sailor and maritime historian, first made a name for himself as an adventurer in the 1920s and 1930s by combining his seafaring skills with his talent as a pioneering photojournalist. He visited Arabia in 1938 because he was certain that he was living through the last days of sail, and was determined to record as much of them as he was able. At Aden, Villiers found an Arab dhow master prepared to take on a lone Westerner as a crewman. Ali bin Nasr el-Nejdi and his Kuwaiti crew were making the age-old voyage from the Gulf to East Africa, coasting on the north-east monsoon winds, with a cargo of dates from Basra. The return voyage would be made in the early summer of 1939, on the first breezes of the south-west monsoon, from East Africa to Kuwait. From this voyage, Villiers fashioned Sons of Sindbad . First published in 1940, it is the sole work of Arabian travel to have at its centre the seafaring Arabs. In a real sense the Thesiger of the Arabian Sea, Villiers voyaged with his companions as an equal, while deferring to their toughness and fortitude, and to their superior knowledge of their trade. This great classic of Arabian travel and maritime adventure is reprinted for the first time since 1969, with a new introduction by William Facey, Yacoub Al-Hijji and Grace Pundyk. As in the original 1940 edition, 50 of Villiers' many photographs are published here - images that complement the text with strikingly vivid depictions of the life and skills of the Arab dhow sailors, of the ports along the route, of Kuwait itself, and of the pearl divers of the Arabian Gulf.

Editorial Reviews

Asian Affairs - John Shipman
“Arabian Publishing are to be congratulated on producing a book of such excellent quality. [The] Introduction combines a biographical account of Villiers’ remarkable life with a thoughtful assessment of the place of Sons of Sindbad in the travel literature on Arabia.”
International Journal of Maritime History - Erik Gilbert
“For academics who feel guilty about reading fun books when they should be keeping up with the literature in their field by reading serious books, I bring glad tidings. The new reprint of Sons of Sindbad offers the opportunity to mix Villiers’ account of a voyage to the East African coast in a Kuwaiti how with a new introduction that places this account in the context of his life and work. The result is a book that is at once a real pleasure to read but also … one that can be placed in the “serious books” category. … Even if you own [an] older edition, it would be worth springing for a copy of the new one just for the photos.”
MESA Bulletin 41:2, 2007 - Beatrice Nicolini
“Villiers’ position, a westerner connected with the imperial reach of British officials and accepted as part of an Arab crew, afforded him a unique and pioneering point of view. Sons of Sindbad is a first-hand work on Arab seamanship, and it has been widely accepted as an authoritative source on the subject. It is a rich and heady brew of the people, ways of life, politics, governments, trade ancient and modern, cultures and human relations at the western edge of the Indian Ocean. … In the introduction by William Facey, Yacoub Al-Hijji and Grace Pundyk, finally Villiers’ right to be included among the greats of Arabian travel finds its recognition.”
Bulletin of the Society for Arabian Studies, 2007 - Dionisius Agius
“Sons of Sindbad … provides a graphic record of the Arabian maritime world and its people, of their customs and conversations, and of their social and economic conditions, just as the decline of trade by sail set in. It is a remarkable achievement. Finally, one must commend the publishers for producing [a] very handsome volume.”
The Muslim World Book Review 28:1, 2007 - Miryam Jameelah
“Now newly reprinted, Alan Villiers’ book on the last of the great Arabian sailing ships (1938–39) is ranked as an enduring classic, equal in its merits to Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands.”
Woodenboat Review, May/June 2007 - Matthew P. Murphy
“A fascinating and vivid study of a vanished way of life.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780955889462
Publisher:
Arabian Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
12/31/2010
Pages:
480

Meet the Author

Alan Villiers (1903–82) was a recognized maritime adventurer of the twentieth century, combining seafaring skills, writing ability and pioneering photojournalism, and made a name for himself with resulting bestsellers such as Falmouth for Orders (1929), which follows his voyage on one of the last grain races round Cape Horn from Australia to Britain. He served on the committees for a number of maritime bodies and, as a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum, played a fundamental role in establishing its historic photograph collection. Overall he published more than forty books and innumerable articles and was well known around the world as a lecturer and broadcaster.

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