Arguably the most fascinating and least known country in the Arab world, Yemen is once again in today's headlines as it struggles with a secessionist movement in the south and faces international pressure to crack down on a resurgent al Qaeda.
In Tim Mackintosh-Smith's Yemen:The Unknown Arabia, originally published by Overlook in 2001 and now available in paperback, Tim Mackintosh-Smith explores the history and culture of this country. Writing with an intimacy and depth of knowledge gained through thirteen years among the Yemenis, Mackintosh Smith is a companion of the best sort: erudite, witty and eccentric. Crossing mountain, desert, ocean and three millennia of history, he portrays a land where men chew leaves and camels live on fish; where men wear pinstriped lounge-suit jackets on top, skirts below, and wicked curved daggers in the middle; a city that seems to have been baked, not built, of iced gingerbread. In this book, Yemen is a part of Arabia, but it is like no place else on Earth.