A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

the waiting game, part deux

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 18, 2008

In high school I remember reading the Alfred Tennyson poem that “in spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”. My spring fancy, on the other hand, generally tends towards shopping.

And since my parents are coming soon, I’ve been on a combined spring wardrobe and pre-war guidebook buying kick. I know: it sounds like a bizarre combination. But I think I’ve found some gems to last me until summer.

I’ll spare you the fashion, but I can’t resist mentioning the book:


Touring Lebanon is a short book – 93 pages – published in 1972. Mr. Ward appears to have been a rather prolific travel guide writer in the 1960s and 1970s: he also authored guides to Bahrain, Libya, Oman and Saudi Arabia’s rather off-the-beaten track Ha’il.

I can’t wait to read what he had to say about Lebanon in the early 1970s :).


4 Responses to “the waiting game, part deux”

  1. Hello, I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, and still have to go to Monk…
    Where did you buy this pre-war Lebanon guidebooks? I work in tourism (as a guide and touroperator) and would love to follow your footsteps and start collecting old Lebanon-guidebooks….

    Thank you,
    warm regards,

  2. kheireddine said

    Hi Diamond,

    I acquired last summer a photography book:Circa 1958: Lebanon in the Pictures and Plans of Constantinos Doxiadis by Hashim Sarkis, it is full of pics of Lebanon taken by urbanists in late 1957, early 1958. It costs $50 in Beirut and it gives a clear idea about the developement challenges in the late 50’s

  3. Hi Theo,

    Monks is very good – do try it when you get the chance! As for buying guidebooks: aside from Byways of Byblos, which was just perched on the side of a “touristic” display of Lebanese/Syrian goods at one of the old Byblos shops, I have found most of mine online.

    I am a total eBay addict, so every week or so I check for “Lebanon” in the “books” category. My personal rule of thumb is that I won’t spend over $10 – but yours might be different. I let them pile up at my (patient & long-suffering) parents’ house and beg friends to bring them in their luggage when they return here (although you could have them shipped directly).

    You might also try some of the used bookstores here (and don’t forget the old National Geographics, which had articles on Lebanon every so often). Be forewarned, though: most people I know consider my interest in old guidebooks pretty odd. After all, they are totally useless when it comes to fulfilling their original purpose! So be prepared for raised eyebrows and amusement 🙂

    Kheireddine, what a great book! I will look for it here – it sounds like a treasure (and worth breaking my $10 limit for!).

  4. […] weekend’s jaunt to the US has allowed me to pick up the copy of Touring Lebanon I bought in March. It is just as enlightening – and as entertaining – as I had hoped. Without it, I would never have […]

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