Twelve trained men and true, with a couple of Land Rovers and a mountain of supplies and equipment, went into the Jordanian desert in 1963 to study the flora, fauna, topography and climate, antiquities and modern conditions of this scenic and scientifically fascinating land. They brought back a vast array of ecological information upon which they based a long technical report offering ""recommendations to enable the Jordan Government to take full advantage, under a co-ordinated long-term plan, of the various potentialities represented by the natural resources of the country."" Portrait of a Desert is drawn from the essence of that report, and is in the fine tradition of earlier books by the same author and illustrator: the writing is sharply descriptive and the photographs (68 pages of plates, both black-and-white and color) are splendid. The group had a brush with a Mideast riot, two vehicle crackups on rough terrain, and meetings with the King of Jordan and top-level officials, and Mountfort comments very favorably on their treatment by the men of the police force and the Desert Army, as well as their unusually warm reception by their Bedouin hosts. High adventure here as they explore sites of Biblical episodes and exploits of the famous T.E. Lawrence, of whom Mountfort is an admirer. Introduction by Sir Julian Huxley, former Director-General of UNESCO and a member of the expedition.