UNKNOWN OMAN by Wendell Phillips


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Wendell Phillips first entered Oman hotfooting it out of Yemen where he had been excavating the Moon Temple of Awwan until the natives became too hostile. He made a friend of the Sultan and has returned several times since, discovering Sumhuram. His latest dig was at Sohar, where he found rewarding artifacts but no ancient city. This book based on his own ""travels, explorations and excavations,"" makes known much about this country, ""the one country in Southwest Asia and North Africa which has never received a single dollar in American aid, (yet) is one of America's oldest and truest friends."" He writes of the status of women (""domestic and servile"") and medicine (""an unrelieved desert of quackery and ignorance""), of the Badu (Beduoin) ""who will eagerly kiss the hand he can't bite and pray that it will be broken"" but who has admirable and endearing traits as well, and the Qara. At Shabwah the extended expedition (by then Phillips had a sheik in tow) outfaced rifles at point blank range, came back with ancient coins that may preface a new dig. This archaeologist gives indication of urbanity, courage, interest deepening to concern for a people who start out life immersed in camel urine, are depleted at twenty-five, often dead at thirty-five. Wendell Phillips again (Qataban and Sheba-1955) makes the unknown known with untoward fascination for the general reader, while there is a full apparatus for the scholar--notes, bibliography, index.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1966
Publisher: McKay