Philby's pre-publication exploration of the canals of the Tigris

Philby, Harry St John Bridger. The Eastern Marshes of Mesopotamia (In: The Geographical Journal Vol. CXXV Part I. March 1959).

London, The Royal Geographical Society, 1959.

8vo. 65-69 pp. [entire volume: xi, (1), 148 pp.]. Original blue printed wrappers.


First edition. The description of the author's journey through the marshes of Amarah along the Tigris and its web of canals, extracted from what was an as yet unpublished work on the subject.

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.

Binding a touch delicate.