I’ve just finished reading a heavyweight biography of the explorer/traveller Wilfred Thesiger and found it a rather flat account. Afterwards I tried to figure out why. My conclusions are that whilst not taking anything away from the man he didn’t achieve any ‘firsts’ like Burton and Speake nor did he do anything for science in the same way as the Scott expedition. Secondly he wasn’t a particularly interesting individual. For example his career seems to have attracted no controversy. One interesting footnote: Thesiger’s hero was TE Lawrence. He acquired a first edition of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. I checked how much one would cost today and found a copy for £900 which seemed reasonable. Then I remembered there was another privately printed edition which Lawrence signed and gave to various people, 126 copies in all. I found one of those for £67,000.

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