Sons of Sindbad

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9780954479237: Sons of Sindbad

Alan Villiers (1903-82), the Australian sailor and maritime historian, first made a name for himself as an adventurer in the 1920s and 1930s by combining his seafaring skills with his talent as a pioneering photojournalist. He visited Arabia in 1938 because he was certain that he was living through the last days of sail, and was determined to record as much of them as he was able.

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About the Author:

Alan Villiers (1903-82) was a pioneering Australian photojournalist and sailor who made a career out of voyaging on board the last great sailing ships. His best-selling books made him famous, and his photographs formed the nucleus of the National Maritime Museum's photographic collections. William Facey is a historian of Arabia. He is also a museum consultant and a director of the London Centre of Arab Studies.

Review:

“The long overdue reprint of Sons of Sindbad, first published in 1940 ... vividly documents the vanishing universe of sail in the western half of the Indian Ocean on the eve of the Second World War. ... The collaborative introduction ... could hardly be bettered ... as an appraisal of Villiers’ life and achievement. ... The authors contend that Villiers was the Thesiger of the Arabian Sea ... a view which few readers are likely to contest.” (John Shipman Asian Affairs)

“For academics who feel guilty about reading fun books when they should be keeping up with the literature in their field by reading serious books, I bring glad tidings. The new reprint of Sons of Sindbad offers the opportunity to mix Villiers’ account of a voyage to the East African coast in a Kuwaiti how with a new introduction that places this account in the context of his life and work. The result is a book that is at once a real pleasure to read but also ... one that can be placed in the “serious books” category. ... Even if you own [an] older edition, it would be worth springing for a copy of the new one just for the photos.” (Erik Gilbert International Journal of Maritime History)

“Villiers’ position, a westerner connected with the imperial reach of British officials and accepted as part of an Arab crew, afforded him a unique and pioneering point of view. Sons of Sindbad is a first-hand work on Arab seamanship, and it has been widely accepted as an authoritative source on the subject. It is a rich and heady brew of the people, ways of life, politics, governments, trade ancient and modern, cultures and human relations at the western edge of the Indian Ocean. ... In the introduction by William Facey, Yacoub Al-Hijji and Grace Pundyk, finally Villiers’ right to be included among the greats of Arabian travel finds its recognition.” (Beatrice Nicolini MESA Bulletin 41:2, 2007)

“Sons of Sindbad ... provides a graphic record of the Arabian maritime world and its people, of their customs and conversations, and of their social and economic conditions, just as the decline of trade by sail set in. It is a remarkable achievement. Finally, one must commend the publishers for producing [a] very handsome volume.” (Dionisius Agius Bulletin of the Society for Arabian Studies, 2007)

“Now newly reprinted, Alan Villiers’ book on the last of the great Arabian sailing ships (1938–39) is ranked as an enduring classic, equal in its merits to Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands.” (Miryam Jameelah The Muslim World Book Review 28:1, 2007)

“Arabian Publishing are to be congratulated on producing a book of such excellent quality. [The] Introduction combines a biographical account of Villiers’ remarkable life with a thoughtful assessment of the place of Sons of Sindbad in the travel literature on Arabia.” (John Shipman The British-Yemeni Society Journal, 2006)

“A fascinating and vivid study of a vanished way of life.” (Matthew P. Murphy Woodenboat Review, May/June 2007)

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Alan Villiers; Introduction-Yacoub Al-Hijji; Introduction-William Facey; Introduction-Grace Pundyk
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Alan Villiers, Yacoub Al-Hijji (Introduction), Grace Pundyk (Introduction)
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