The Sahara: A Cultural History

Paperback | November 10, 2011

byEamonn Gearon

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The Sahara is the quintessence of isolation, epitomizing both remoteness and severity of environment unlike any other place on the face of the earth. Replete with myths and fictions, it is a wild land, dotted with oases and camel trains trudging through sand dunes that roll like the waves on asea, as far as the distant horizon. But this is just part of the picture. The largest desert in the world, the Sahara ranges from the river Nile running through Egypt and Sudan in the east, to the Atlantic coast from Morocco to Mauritania in the west; stretching from the Atlas Mountains and theshores of the Mediterranean in the north, to the fluid Sahelian fringe that delineates the desert in the south.Invaders and traders have come and gone for millennia, but the Sahara is also the place that some people call home. While larger than the United States, this vast area contains only three million people: Africans and Arabs, Berber and Bedu, Tuareg and Tebu. Eamonn Gearon explores the history,culture, and terrain of a place whose name is familiar to all, but known to few.* Conquered and Cursed: from the 50,000-strong army of Cambyses, swallowed in a sandstorm in the sixth century BC, to the us marines' first foreign engagement, in 1805; Hannibal and his elephants, Caesar against Anthony and Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, the armies of Islam, Napoleon, and Rommelversus Monty.* Myths and Mysteries: from whales in the White Desert to the arrival of camels in the Great Sand Sea; chariots of the gods and colonialists' motor-cars; from the Land of the Dead to Timbuktu; salt and gold mines, fields of oil and gas and a man-made river.* Artists, Writers, and Filmmakers: from the ancient rock art of the Tassili frescoes to the modernism of Matisse and Klee; from Ibn Battuta to Paul Bowles; from Beau Geste's French Foreign Legion to Star Wars.

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The Sahara is the quintessence of isolation, epitomizing both remoteness and severity of environment unlike any other place on the face of the earth. Replete with myths and fictions, it is a wild land, dotted with oases and camel trains trudging through sand dunes that roll like the waves on asea, as far as the distant horizon. But thi...

Eamonn Gearon is an Arabist, author, and camel expert. For the past twenty years, he has lived in the Greater Middle East, focusing on policy issues as an analyst and special advisor.

other books by Eamonn Gearon

The Sahara: A Cutural History
The Sahara: A Cutural History

Kobo ebook|Oct 19 2011

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:November 10, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199861951

ISBN - 13:9780199861958

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgmentsIntroductionA Quick Tour of the SaharaFlora and FaunaPart One: Landscapes1. Whales in the Desert2. Rock ArtIconography and Graffiti3. Saharan UrbanOasis-TownsPart Two: HistoryConquests and Empires4. From Ancient Egypt to the Arab InvasionLand of the Dead; The Phoenicians; Persian and PtolemaicDynasties; The Romans; The Garamantes; Camels; Christian North Africa; The Vandals; The Armies of Islam5. Travellers, Chroniclers, GeographersGilded Empires; TimbuktuPart Three: HistoryExploration, Imperialism and Independence6. European Forays: The African Association and NapoleonHornemann; Egyptomania7. Further Horizons: Exploration and the European Land GrabCailli., Barth and Rohlfs; Algeria and Abd al-Qadir; The Scramble for Africa8. War and Peace and WarMotors, Maps and Planes9. The Second World WarDesert Warfare10. Heaven and Hell: Independence and SinceThe French LegacyPart Four: Imagination11. Classical InspirationRiddle of the Sphinx12. Poetic Muse"The Brutish Desert": War Poets13. A Brilliant PaletteFromentin and the Orientalists: "Dangerous Novelties"14. Oriental Delights, Strange Worlds and Spy StoriesTales of the Legion; Desert Espionage15. Silver Screen SaharaBeau Geste; Desert EpicsPart Five: EncountersIndigenes and Visitors16. Men with a MissionProfessionals; Missionaries17. Literary Travellers and TouristsEarly Observers; Wilfred Thesiger; Adventure Tourism18. People of the SaharaThe Tuareg; Toubou and Sahrawi ; Two Incomers: Isabelle Eberhardt and Paul BowlesFurther ReadingIndex of Literary and Historical NamesIndex of Places and Landmarks