Following in the footsteps of famed explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, British explorer Levison Wood brings us along on his most complex expedition yet: a circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula.
Starting in September 2017 in a city in Northern Syria, a stone’s throw away from Turkey and amidst the deadliest war of the twenty-first century, Wood set forth on a 5,000-mile trek through the most contested region on the planet. He moved through the Middle East for six months, from ISIS-occupied Iraq through Kuwait and along the jagged coastlines of the Emirates and Oman; across a civil-war-torn Yemen and on to Saudia Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, before ending on the shores of the Mediterranean in Lebanon. Like his predecessors, Wood travelled through some of the harshest and most beautiful environments on earth, seeking to challenge our perceptions of this often-misunderstood part of the world. Through the relationships he forges along the way—and the personal histories and local mythologies that his companions share—Wood examines how the region has changed over thousands of years and reveals a side of the Middle East we don’t often see in the media.
At once a thrilling personal journey and a skillful piece of cultural reportage, Arabia is a breathtaking chronicle of an epic journey through the land at the root of all civilization.
Praise for Levison Wood
“One of the most engaging aspects of Wood’s narrative is his ability to bring his passion for adventure, for history, for learning about indigenous cultures…and the natural world…His is travel and adventure writing at its best.”—Shelf Awareness
“Levison Wood is a great adventurer and a wonderful storyteller.”―Sir Ranulph Fiennes
“Many have attempted this holy grail of an expedition―so I admire Lev’s determination and courage to pull this off.”―Bear Grylls
“Levison Wood has breathed new life into adventure travel.”―Michael Palin
“[Wood’s] narrative skills are enlivened by a droll wit and entertaining descriptions of his traveling companions and the characters encountered during his journey… The greatest value to the American reader of this book, however, may be the unbiased observations by this perceptive Brit of the impact which the present United States’ immigration policy has upon the vast region stretching from South America to our Southern border… Wood’s interactions with both notorious MS-13 gang members and innocent families trying to enter our country illustrate the chaos caused by our present system. While he hearkens back to the classic British explorers of our planet, Wood’s travels are as current as today’s headlines.”—Lincoln Journal-Star
“So often books on great treks seem to relish recounting only maladies, sexcapades, or drunken capers. Not so with Wood; he focuses on the people and places he and Alberto encounter, which makes for great reading.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A thrilling narrative trek through towns, back roads, and natural wonders of Central America, all on foot. He elevates this already fascinating landscape with lively prose that combines travel journal with history lessons, memoir, and survivalist handbook. This skillful weaving of genres creates intensity and suspense chapter to chapter, keeping the reader’s interest piqued and the pages turning as Wood pays deep respect to a dangerous and extraordinarily beautiful part of the planet.”—Booklist