[Reading] ➶ Yemen: The Unknown Arabia By Tim Mackintosh-Smith – Horse-zine.co.uk


10 thoughts on “Yemen: The Unknown Arabia

  1. says:

    Yemen as she always never wasI ve given up my long held dream of traveling in Yemen Once I thought I might even study Arabic and try to do some anthropological research there on the shrines visited by Indian Muslims But my fate was always centered in India I d collected as many books about Yemen as I could and now, since I won t be living those travels or doing that work, I ve started reading them all They are gathered around two poles academic and travel writing I ve read Steven Caton, Paul Dresch, and Engseng Ho These books give you a solid, professional view of Yemen, though Caton s Yemen Chronicle is as far from dry academic as you can get and still be serious In the field of travel writing, I ve read Claudie Fayein s book from the 1950s plus Kevin Rushby and Eric Hansen Now I ve just finished Mackintosh Smith s travel opus I must say that taken together, this is a most impressive body of work for a country that on a world scale does not loom large.Mackintosh Smith seems to be a man who found another part of himself in a faraway land and never went home There must be something in the UK that drives or attracts certain men to take up life in the Arab world The author had lived in Yemen many years by the time he wrote this book and spoke fluent Arabic Like Kevin Rushby, who frequently ate the flowers of paradise , Mackintosh Smith adapted to all facets of Yemeni life and walked through the mountains and deserts of his adopted homeland as well as through the crowded streets of San a and the various villages and small towns he came across In the book he goes to the north, through the mountains and down to the Tihama coastal plain, to Aden where he views the strange debris of British occupation crossed with Marxist government overthrown , to the far reaches of the Hadramawt, and finally to the remote, but fascinating island of Socotra He may not have been the only one to do this, but he has certainly written the most poetic, literary book to come out about Yemen so far Coupled with a fine, wry British sense of humor, YEMEN THE UNKNOWN ARABIA cannot fail to please readers If you are looking for a book that presents INFORMATION, for God s sake, go someplace else This is a romantic work I think there is room for romantic works in this world In fact, a world without them would be awful Mackintosh Smith does not pretend to write a scholarly tome, but still, historical and political information does flesh out his personal experiences together with legends, tall tales, and weird details All in all, this is a wonderful book a must read for anyone interested in Yemen It does not intimate anything of what has unfolded since 2011 and it does not present Yemen as a Third World country in need of health care, education, and population control, not to mention a solution to serious water problems I wonder what has happened to the author Perhaps the Yemen he has described so well will persist, but I fear not in the same form For him, this may be a tragedy, but I m not so sure Yemenis would entirely agree.P.S The drawings scattered throughout the book are as insipid and uninteresting as the text is vivid and interesting I cannot understand why he didn t use photographs or at least some finished work.


  2. says:

    This book was a slow start The subject material is or should be fascinating but somehow the author s style just makes the narrative drag until the last three chapters or so when it picks up and becomes a good read Am not so sure the initial slog is worth it.


  3. says:

    I was originally considering Yemen Travels in Dictionary Land as my book from Yemen for the Read The World challenge, but I ve tracked down a novel by an actual Yemeni writer which is available in English, so I ll read that at some stage I still wanted to read Travels in Dictionary Land, though, because I very much enjoyed Mackintosh Smith s two books following in the footsteps of the medieval Arab traveller Ibn Battutah.I m not quite sure how long Mackintosh Smith had lived in Yemen when this book was published 10 years ago, but he still lives there he is clearly deeply engaged with Arab culture, history and language generally and Yemen in particular in fact, living in San a and chewing qat, I think in the terminology of the Empire they would have said he has gone native and the book mixes what you might call straight travel writing with historical context and snippets of literature and mythology.I think it s easiest to just quote a couple of passages.Very occasionally they scorpions are found in bunches of qat Once, a baby one walked out of my bundle and across my lap, and disappeared among the leavings in the the middle of the room I have never seen qat chewers move faster Another creature that sometimes pops up in qat is the fukhakh, the hisser the Yemeni name for the chameleon Its blood taken externally is a cure for baldness, but its breath makes your teeth fall out. The gecko too is often killed, as it eats the remains of food from around your mouth as you sleep, pisses and gives you spots Despite this I have been attached to several that have grown up in my house as they are clever flycatchers and converse, like the Hottentots, in clicks.Or, in a bar in Aden Then the band broke into a sort of Egyptian glam rock number and, unexpectedly, the floor filled with young men dressed in Paisley pattern shirts and pleated trousers The number of pleats seemed to reflect their prowess at dancing One particularly energetic youth a twenty pleater shone out his pelvis was articulated in extraordinary places, and spurts of sweat shot from his forehead These were the mutamaykalin, the Michaelesques the fans of Michael Jackson.So, generally speaking, enjoyable stuff Some of the political history passages are less gripping than the travel anecdotes, but at least I now know a lot about Yemen.


  4. says:

    Tim Mackintosh Smith offers a loving, meandering account of a region that these days is only in the news for terrible if unfortunately real reasons As I all too often fall pray to the monolithic portrayals of the Arab and Muslim worlds, it is refreshing to read about wondrous, unheard of places in Yemen that have nothing to do with Anwar Al Awlaki or the Bin Ladens Aden, a major port and one time seat of the Arab world s only Communist regime, and Suqutra, an island closer to Somalia than the rest of Yemen with a unique language and sui generis flora, are described beautifully Mackintosh Smith s digressions into pre Islamic mythology in many ways still going strong and genealogy are likewise stunning Topping it off, there are intriguing tidbits on Arabic linguistics scattered throughout the book, so if you are a student of the language perhaps a dilletantish one like myself , then you will enjoy this rambling tour even so.Three Favorite Passages1 Somebody once said that every Arabic word means itself, its opposite or a camel 2 I remembered the baboon I had met in a San a street It was blocking the way, teeth bared I picked up a stone So did the baboon We stood glaring at each other until a group of men came calling, Sa id Sa id , and it scampered off down a side alley Pet baboons are always called Sa id, which means happy They are usually catatonically depressed or in a snarling rage 3 It was during Tahirid times that the great Sufi holy man of Aden, Abu Bakr ibn Abdullah al Aydarus, lived His superhuman doings, in addition to the toothstick exploit, included making the sky rain milk during a famine Today, the saint s annual festival is still by far the largest in Aden Al Aydarus, however, did not monopolize the miraculous His predecessor Shaykh Jawhar had a cat called Sa adah, Felicity, which would indicate how much lunch to prepare by miaowing the number of guests One day Felicity was found to have miscounted, until it was realized that she had subtracted two of the guests because they were Christians.


  5. says:

    I could only give this book two stars because I did learn from it The author couldn t seem to decide what kind of book he was writing a travelogue or a history He didn t achieve either The bits of information about the people there and their lives were interesting, but the book was disjointed and hard to follow There were many examples of folklore, which were very colorful Overall, however, I feel that I could have learned and in a readable style from a textbook.


  6. says:

    Fascinating book by a resident since 1982 of this remote corner of the Arabian Peninsula Terrific travel book


  7. says:

    Loved it Great use of language, his puns are adorable, witty, funny at times, tragic at others, filled with interesting anecdotes and important historical and political points The author shows a deep understanding of his subject as only someone living many years in Yemen and speaking Arabic the local dialect could Thank you for this little jewel.It appears that the subtitle Travels in Dictionary Land may not exist in the US version.


  8. says:

    A good read about a little known land, from a sympathetic western author fluent in arabic I was always fascinated by the culture and history of the land of the Queen of Sheba, since I read Freya Stark and Gertrude Caton Thompson s memoirs One has to wonder what the fate of these people is, now that they ve been bombed back to the stone age as my newspaper wrote, with massive cholera epidemics and political chaos.


  9. says:

    Fascinating Excellent travel writer and historian voyages through Yemen with sometimes amusing, sometimes sad, reflections on the history and the people.


  10. says:

    I love this mixture of history, geography, culture and travel Full of sillyness and learning.


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Yemen: The Unknown Arabia summary pdf Yemen: The Unknown Arabia, summary chapter 2 Yemen: The Unknown Arabia, sparknotes Yemen: The Unknown Arabia, Yemen: The Unknown Arabia 7a1a1b0 In This Work, The Author Describes His Journey Through Yemen, Portraying Hyrax Hunters And Dhow Skippers, A Noseless Regicide, A Sword Wielding Tyrant With A Passion For Heinz Russian Salad, As Well As Examining The Extraordinary History Of The Ordinary Yemenis

  • Yemen: The Unknown Arabia
  • Tim Mackintosh-Smith
  • 13 July 2019
  • 9780330373678

About the Author: Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Yemen: The Unknown Arabia book, this is one of the most wanted Tim Mackintosh-Smith author readers around the world.