Philby in WWI Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

Philby, Harry St John Bridger. Across Arabia: From the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea. (In: The Geographical Journal Vol. LVI No. 6. December 1920).

London, The Royal Geographical Society, 1920.

8vo. 446-467 pp. [entire volume: vi, 425-520, viii pp., with 13 photographic illustrations, numerous sketch maps in the text, and the folding map by Philby at rear]. Original blue printed wrappers.


First edition. An exploration of the author's journey from Bahrain to Jeddah in 1918, with description of landscape, archaeology, important regional governors, and notes on beliefs and practices of the various populations encountered along the trip. Includes photographic plates and a large folding map, the pride of the expedition, which through its travels greatly improved British maps of the Arabian Peninsula.

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 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.

Light exterior wear; in good condition.


Macro 1768.