The Life of My Choice
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The Life of My Choice

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Wilfred Thesiger is the last of the great British eccentric explorers, renowned for his travels through some of the most inaccessible places on earth. As a child in Abyssinia he watched the glorious armies of Ras Tafari returning from hand-to-hand battle, their prisoners in chains; at the age of 23 he made his first expedition into the country of the Danakil, a murderous r...more
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Published April 1st 2008 by Flamingo (first published 1987)
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Shovelmonkey1
I don't read a lot of autobiographies or biographies (if you ignore the fact that I recently reviewed Jordan's autobiography). I'm not sure why this is. As a general rule of thumb I'm inherently nosey and surely getting hold of a big stack of autobiographies would be an easy way to sate my nosiness in a non-intrusive non "News of World phone tapping" kind of way.

I make the exception for this gentleman. May I introduce to you, if you're not familiar with his work the amazing Wilfred Thesiger. Ex...more
Jan-Maat
Wilfred Thesiger wrote two notable travel books Arabian Sands & The Marsh Arabs. Arabian Sands tells the story of his exploration of the Empty Quarter - a vast area of desert in southern Saudi Arabia that stretches into Oman - during the late 1940s before the impact of the discovery of oil. The Marsh Arabs tell of trips through the former (and now in places undergoing restoration) marsh lands of southern Iraq.

The Life of My Choice doesn't really have anything of interest equal to either of t...more
DoctorM
Let's just admit it: if you're male, you want to be Wilfred Thesiger. You do. Born to British diplomatic family in Abyssinia early in the century, growing up in a dying Edwardian world, then a life abroad in the outlands of Empire: governing districts in the Sudan, living among the Dinka and the Nuer, climbing to cliffside monasteries in Ethiopia... Wartime with the SAS in Ethiopia and the Western Desert. Then the great trek across the Empty Quarter and literary fame. Plus hunting amongst the Ma...more
Philip
Some readers may be aware of the kind of boys’ adventure story that was popular around the middle years of the last century. Set in a far off colony, surrounded by veritable hordes of colour and dress not then encountered in the Home Counties, a tall, invariably fair-haired and clean-shaven upstanding British military type dressed in khaki uniform, pith helmet, puttees and boots, pursued heroic adventures against all odds, brought criminals to justice and discovered waterfalls or rivers then unk...more
Anne Ruff
This book provided my first vicarious travel to Ethiopia. I poached the book off a wonderful friend's bookcase when I was living in Bangkok. The experience of living in a foreign land and reading about another foreign land was pretty heady stuff. Thesiger is a first rate tour guide: brave, respectful, with an iron stomach and sturdy feet. I grew to love him even more in his book about crossing the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula.
Philip
Just an awesome individual, who along with such other characters as Francis Younghusband, Roy Chapman Andrews, Peter Fleming and Richard Burton, makes me feel like a total failure in life (but somehow in a good way). Includes some fascinating insights into pre-gone-to-hell Iraq. Interesting footnote: Thesiger himself has a hilarious cameo at the end of the humorous British travel classis "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush."
Eric Pape
Thesiger is a giant amongst explorers, This book is excellent focusing on the man and his motives as much as his incredible acheivements. I was stuck in hospital for a few days recently and could read this continually, it was smashing. Recommended
Elisabeth
very good on 'imperial' Ethiopia...read before going on trip. WF's penchant for young boys disturbing; hope he didn't do too much damage
Rowan
Premise: Parents wanted a traditional English life for me, but that didn't feel right. My choice instead was to be like Lawrence of Arabia.
David Kessler
Wildred , the adventurer, lived quite the life. The Saudi desert story just kept me reading
Alana
I love this man.
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Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, CBE, DSO, was a British explorer and travel writer born in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Thesiger was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford University where he took a third in history. Between 1930 and 1933, Thesiger represented Oxford at boxing and later (1933) became captain of the Oxford boxing team.

In 1930, Thesiger returned to Africa, havin...more
More about Wilfred Thesiger...
Arabian Sands (Penguin Travel Library) The Marsh Arabs Across the Empty Quarter (Penguin Great Journeys) A Vanished World Among the Mountains: Travels Through Asia

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