Arabia Felix

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Last night I finished Thorkild Hansen’s Arabia Felix, about the fateful 1761-1767 Danish Expedition to Yemen. Although the book is very well-regarded in Denmark, Arabia Felix and his Slave Trilogy are all often out of print, difficult to find, or expensive in English. Nevertheless, I definitely recommend Arabia Felix. It is a fast-paced page turner (I finished it in three sittings) and reads more like a novel than non-fiction. Furthermore, the real life cast of characters is great with the rivaling personalities and heroic lone survivor.

Originally published in 1962, some of the terminology may appear out-dated, and Hansen also tends to embellish the story with his own interpretation of events. Nonetheless, Arabia Felix is such a good read that I am surprised it is almost unknown in the English reading public, especially at a time when the Middle East is very much on the radar.

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