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Philby served part of his career as a British colonial office intelligence officer. He was an Arabist, linguist, explorer, writer, and socialist. He played an important, quiet role in the development of the Arab Revolt (1916-1918) against the Ottoman Turks. This book was intended as a modern history of Arabia for a general audience. Philby notes in the preface that his background knowledge was immense; he claimed to have read every published traveler's account of the nation, as well as acquiring a first-hand knowledge of it by living there. He also credits a few scholarly works for assisting his interpretation.

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Chapter I
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Chapter III

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