The Life of My Choice

Wilfred Thesiger, Author W. W. Norton & Company $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02513-2
Perhaps the last of the great romantic gentleman-explorers, Thesiger, author of Arabian Sands and The Marsh Arabs, here looks back on an extraordinary life. He was born in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) to British diplomatic parents who were friends of Emperor Haile Selassie. Thesiger remembers Addis Ababa, the capital, as a village with grass huts, no roads and colorful ceremonies. He attended Eton and Oxford, then returned to Africa for the first of many journeys, exploring the Awash River (home to the dreaded Danakil, whose warriors killed randomly to prove their manhood and collected their victims' genitals for trophies). As a district officer in the Sudan Political Service, Thesiger had further opportunities to travel in desert lands and meet nomadic tribes. During World War II, he served with Orde Wingate's troops, liberating Abyssinia from the Italians; later, he fought behind the lines in the Western Desert. In addition to superb adventure, Thesiger gives a fine portrait of the waning days of the British Empire in the Sudan and of the last revolution in Ethiopia. Photos. (March)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Paperback - 463 pages - 978-0-00-637267-7
Paperback - 492 pages - 978-0-393-33425-8
Hardcover - 459 pages - 978-0-00-216194-7
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