A journey through the Rub' al Khali

Philby, Harry St John Bridger. The Empty Quarter, being a description of the Great South Desert of Arabia known as Rub' al Khali.

London, Constable, 1933.

8vo. XXIV, 433, (1) pp. With 3 folding maps an 47 illustrations on 32 plates. Publisher's original giltstamped green cloth.


First edition. St. John Philby (1885-1960), also known by his Arabian name "Sheikh Abdullah", was an Arabist, explorer, writer, and British colonial office intelligence officer. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he studied oriental languages and was a friend and classmate of Jawaharlal Nehru, later prime Minister of India. Philby settled in Jeddah and became famous as an international writer and explorer. He personally mapped on camelback what is now the Saudi-Yemeni border on the Rub' al Khali; in 1932, while searching for the lost city of Ubar, he was the first Westerner to visit and describe the Wabar craters. At this time, Philby also became Ibn Saud's chief adviser in dealing with the British Empire and Western powers. He converted to Islam in 1930. The personal contacts between the United States and Saudi Arabia were largely channeled through the person of Philby.

An excellent copy, with very insignificant foxing to first and last few pages.


Macro 1781. Ghani 302.