The Bedouins and the Desert: Aspects of Nomadic Life in the Arab East

Publication Year



Translated and edited by Lawrence I. Conrad, Ph.D. 1981

An extensively illustrated account of traditional bedouin life in the Arab east that extends from desert wildlife and lore on the camel to marriage customs and the history of the enigmatic tribe of Slayb.


List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Translator's Note

1. The Desert Homeland

2. Trees and Plants of the Desert

3. Carnivorous Desert Animals

4. Herbivorous Desert Animals

5. Desert Birds

6. Desert Reptiles and Insects

7. Domesticated Animals in the Desert

8. The Camel

9. The Bedouin's Tent

10. The Arab Bedouin and His Tribes

11. The Tribal Order

12. The Bedouin Character

13. Bedouin Appearance, Dress, and Adornment

14. Raiding and the Brother-Right

15. The Bedouins and the Hunt

16. The Bedouins and Religion

17. Education and Cultural Life

18. Nomads of the Nomads: the Slayb

19. The History of the Bedouins in Northern Arabia

20. The Transformation of Bedouin Life


Bibliography of Works Cited



"I need scarcely say how important this book's subject is for anyone who wishes to understand the society and culture of the Arab peoples. There have been a number of important studies in European languages about aspects of this subject, and some valuable reports by western travelers, but in my opinion Jibrail Jabbur's book goes beyond them. It is based on a unique variety of sources: the works of Arab historians as well as European scholars and travelers; Arabic poems (of which Professor Jabbur had a remarkable knowledge), and his own personal observations during a long life which began on the edge of the Syrian desert." -- Albert Hourani, author of A History of the Arab Peoples

"This book is above all a mine of detailed information about many aspects of bedouin life and about the physical environment in which the bedouin live....The interplay of recent/ethnographic detail and information drawn from ancient Arabic poetry and other literary sources is remarkable....All in all, it is an invaluable compilation and synthesis of material on a rapidly vanishing way of life." -- Fred Donner, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Series Title
SUNY series in Near Eastern studies
State University of New York Press