In our own century there have been remarkable explorers and outstanding per sonalities whose inclusion would have added considerably to the picture of Arabia as it built up in the Western mind over the centuries, culminating in the mapping of the last unexplored deserts of central Arabia, particularly the Rub al Khali or Empty Quarter, between the two Great Wars. Few who went before them achieved. more by way of discovery, or contributed more to the sum of our knowledge of the lands and people of Arabia, than H. St John Philby and Captain W. H. 1. Shakespear; but recent works on both men are readily available, as are the findings of travellers like Thomas and Thesiger. We had to draw the line somewhere and so we started at the Renaissance and finished with the later Victorians, choosing selectively, and sometimes painfully, along the way.