An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood Book Review Netgalley
Books,  Non-Fiction

An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood Book Review

An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood Book Review Netgalley

An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood Book Review

The lowdown from Goodreads

Publication Date February 5, 2019

Following in the footsteps of famed explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, British explorer Levison Wood brings us along on his most complex expedition yet: a circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula. Starting in September 2017 in a city in Northern Syria, a stone’s throw away from Turkey and amidst the deadliest war of the twenty-first century, Wood set forth on a 5,000-mile trek through the most contested region on the planet.

He moved through the Middle East for six months, from ISIS-occupied Iraq through Kuwait and along the jagged coastlines of the Emirates and Oman; across a civil-war-torn Yemen and on to Saudia Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, before ending on the shores of the Mediterranean in Lebanon. Like his predecessors, Wood traveled through some of the harshest and most beautiful environments on earth, seeking to challenge our perceptions of this often-misunderstood part of the world.

Through the relationships he forges along the way-and the personal histories and local mythologies that his companions share-Wood examines how the region has changed over thousands of years and reveals a side of the Middle East we don’t often see in the media. 

An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood Book Review

Tales of desert adventure combined with modern warfare and international politics. Levison Wood navigates difficult terrain and crosses numerous borders, only to find refuge and kindness by total strangers.


Stumbling upon people who share my romantic ideal of famed explorers is rare. I had to pick up a book where the author follows in the footsteps of explorers like Lawrence of Arabia. While much of the Arabian Peninsula remains an exotic mystery to many of us, Wood recognizes the political turmoil that has enrobed these countries for decades, if not centuries.

We are given a look at the luck and logistics required to make a trek across countries fighting against ISIS and other militant factions. From his start in Northern Syria, Wood spends six-month crossing countries like Iraq, Yemen, and Jordan before finally spilling out on the shores of the Mediterranean. At times, you’re carried away by the changes in the landscape. Wood describes these scenes poetically.

I am not a geography buff. Throughout the book, I found many names of cities and leaders are used with regularity. For me, it is hard to follow without referring back to a map. An Arabian Journey is less a cultural narrative, and more of one ex-military man’s pursuit of a dream to cross the desert. Wood’s comfort with tense situations and heavy artillery, makes this book unmistakably geared toward a male audience and to veterans of the numerous Middle East conflicts.


I am Kinda Into This book. Wood navigates us through the challenges citizens of the Arabian Peninsula face on a regular basis. This gives us a greater understanding of what the world must be like for these people. And, though are moments of beauty in this book, it reads unevenly. With descriptive prose sandwiched between roughly written paragraphs, at times it almost feels like a different writer.

Special thanks to Levison Wood, Atlantic Monthly Press & NetGalley for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.

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About the Author: Levison Wood

An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood Book Review Author Bio Twitter
Levison Wood | Twitter

Levison Wood is a best selling author, explorer and photographer. He has covered stories and events around the world for over ten years. His work has featured in international publications around the world including Channel 4, the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and the Sunday Telegraph.

In 2014 he completed a nine-month expedition walking the length of the Nile, which was documented in a critically acclaimed Channel 4 series and accompanying book. In 2015 he embarked on an even more ambitious challenge to walk the length of the Himalayas from Afghanistan to Bhutan. The 5 x 60′ documentary series appeared on C4, with Levison’s book published simultaneously in January 2016. It was subsequently voted Adventure Travel Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards.

Lev’s most recent expedition ‘Walking The Americas’ from Mexico to Colombia aired on Channel 4 as a 4 x 60′ series in January 2017, whilst his accompanying book became a Sunday Times bestseller. Lev also embarked on a major 25 date tour of the UK, playing to audiences of 600 to 1000 per venue. Lev’s most recent TV series ‘From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier’ aired on Channel 4 for four weeks in August 2017. His latest book ‘Eastern Horizons’ about his travels as a 22 year-old-man hitchhiking the Silk Road was published on November 2nd. Lev has recently returned from his latest epic expedition – a 5000 mile circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula from Iraq to Lebanon, with a new book, documentary series and theatre tour all in the pipeline.

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