An extensively illustrated account of traditional bedouin life in the Arab east that extends from desert wildlife and lore on the camel to marriage customs and the history of the enigmatic tribe of Slayb.
Jibrail Jabbur (1900-1991) was Professor of Arabic literature and Semitic Studies at the American University of Beirut. He was a renowned historian of Arabic literature, a leading figure in modern Arab education, and chair of the committee responsible for the modern Arabic translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. His many publications include editions of several medieval Arabic texts, a three-volume study of the early Arab poet 'Umar inb Abi Rabi'a, and numerous monographs on historical and cultural topics. His memoirs were published in Beirut only days before his death. Lawrence I. Conrad is Historian of Near Eastern Medicine at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London and the author of numerous studies on medical history and medieval Arab history and historiography. Suhayl J. Jabbur, Jibrail Jabbur's son, is a neurophysiologist and Professor of Physiology at the American University of Beirut.
"I need scarcely say how important this book's subject is for anyone who wishes to understand the society and culture of the Arab peoples. There have been a number of important studies in European languages about aspects of this subject, and some valuable reports by western travelers, but in my opinion Jibrail Jabbur's book goes beyond them. It is based on a unique variety of sources: the works of Arab historians as well as European scholars and travelers; Arabic poems (of which Professor Jabbur had a remarkable knowledge), and his own personal observations during a long life which began on the edge of the Syrian desert." — Albert Hourani, author of A History of the Arab Peoples
"This book is above all a mine of detailed information about many aspects of bedouin life and about the physical environment in which the bedouin live....The interplay of recent/ethnographic detail and information drawn from ancient Arabic poetry and other literary sources is remarkable....All in all, it is an invaluable compilation and synthesis of material on a rapidly vanishing way of life." — Fred Donner, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago