Tom Ordeman, Jr. joined me on episode 33 of the Sultanate podcast, and left us with a gift: a list of five riveting historical reads related to Oman. It is an eclectic grouping of books, but it has a little something for everybody in the family.
First on the list is the book we discussed in the podcast, Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger (1959) – “This is the kind of book that everyone can enjoy, but I think especially young men. It’s a romantic portrayal of rugged individualism [on the Arabian Peninsula.] It’s just a wonderful read,” says Tom.
If I could only read one book on this list, I’d choose this.
Travels in Arabia, vol. I by James Raymond Wellsted (1838) – Tom adds, “Wellsted travelled throughout northwestern Oman (Muscat, Jebel Akhdar, Batinah Coast) in the early 1830’s, and was the first major Western explorer to write about his experiences. Available as a free PDF from the Internet Archive.”
Buraimi: The Struggle for Power, Influence and Oil in Arabia by Michael Quentin Morton (2013) – Morton offers a detailed, expert review of the events preceding and following the Buraimi Dispute. A must read for anyone interested in the relationship between modern politics, economics, and borders on the Arabian Peninsula.
Off microphone Tom and I discussed this conflict, and interestingly Wilfred Thesiger had and idea something was boiling over in Buraimi, fascinating.
In the Service of the Sultan by Ian Gardiner (2006) – Tom says it’s, “perhaps the best overview of the Dhofar Rebellion, which was Sultan Qaboos’ first major challenge to overcome upon assuming the throne. Includes descriptions of the government’s initial efforts to apply oil revenue to development and infrastructure, and the Sultan’s efforts to unify the politically disparate regions of the Sultanate.”
This title landed on my kindle wishlist years ago as heard many good comments about the book. Still, I haven’t gotten around to reading it. Maybe after I finish Arabian Sands I’ll give it a go.
Oman and the World: The Emergence of an Independent Foreign Policy by Joseph A. Kechichian (1995) – “Kechichian relates Oman’s recent history in order to demonstrate the Sultan’s careful efforts to advance Oman’s national interests through simultaneous Independence and international engagement. Available as a free PDF from the RAND Corporation.”
Two comment from me on this read. One, it’s free! You can’t go wrong with free. Two, I downloaded and browsed this already and at first glance it is rich with good information.
Finally, be sure to check out my interview with Tom on the Sultanate podcast.