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The Middle East Intelligence Handbooks 1943–1946

The Middle East Intelligence Handbooks 1943–1946
5 Volume Hardback Set

£1,750.00

Cambridge Archive Editions
  • Date Published: July 1987
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Multiple copy pack
  • isbn: 9781852070601

£1,750.00
Multiple copy pack

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  • The function of the intelligence handbooks, which were compiled by the British Foreign Office, was to inform British officials engaged on diplomatic duties in foreign countries about every aspect of the country in which they were resident. They provide a full, splendidly illustrated, geographic encyclopaedia of the culture and civilisation of each country, including over 1200 photographs. Each volume describes the history, administration and public life of the country concerned: Iraq and the Persian Gulf; Western Arabia and the Red Sea; Palestine and Transjordan; Syria; Persia. Economic geography, agriculture, trade and communications are dealt with in detail. In volumes also designed for naval and military intelligence, particular attention is accorded to the coasts and topography, but there are also street plans and photographs of every significant town as well as of the archaeological sites.

    • Facsimile collections of key documents from archive sources
    • Previously unknown or fragmented material now available in a coherent collection
    • Carefully selected and edited for maximum value to researchers and scholars
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1987
    • Format: Multiple copy pack
    • Isbn: 9781852070601
    • Length: 3180 pages
    • Dimensions: 309 x 245 x 257 mm
    • Weight: 9.5kg
    • Availability: In stock
    • Paper: Printed on acid free paper
    • Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
    • Resume


      The function of the intelligence handbooks, which were compiled by the British Foreign Office, was to inform British officials engaged on diplomatic duties in foreign countries about every aspect of the country in which they were resident. They provide a full, splendidly illustrated, geographic encyclopaedia of the culture and civilisation of each country, including over 1200 photographs.

      Each volume describes the history, administration and public life of the country concerned: Iraq and the Persian Gulf; Western Arabia and the Red Sea; Palestine and Transjordan; Syria; Persia. Economic geography, agriculture, trade and communications are dealt with in detail. In volumes also designed for naval and military intelligence, particular attention is accorded to the coasts and topography, but there are also street plans and photographs of every significant town as well as of the archaeological sites.

    • Historical Overview


      A series of intelligence handbooks produced during the First World War had proved valuable both during the conflict and as subsequent reference sources. Early in the Second World War the Director of Naval Intelligence ordered the preparation of a new and improved series to meet the requirements of the day.

      The Handbooks were designed to provide, in the words of the Preface, 'for the use of Commanding Officers, information in a comprehensive and convenient form about countries which they may be called upon to visit, not only in war but in peace-time; secondly, to maintain the high standard of education in the Navy and, by supplying officers with material for lectures ... to ensure for all ranks that visits to a new country shall be both interesting and profitable.'

      Authorship of the Handbooks

      A sub-centre of the Naval Intelligence Division was established at Oxford to recruit contributors of the first quality. It was directed by the Professor of Geography, Lieutenant-Colonel (later Sir) K. Mason who had, after first war service in Mesopotamia and Persia, spent many years in the Survey of India. He himself wrote much of the volume on Iraq and the Persian Gulf. The principal author of the volume Western Arabia and the Red Sea was Dr Hugh Scott of the Natural History Museum, whose book on the Yemen published in 1942 was by far the best available. The volume on Syria was written mainly by J. W. Crowfoot, who had been Director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and, as a pupil of D. G. Hogarth, the great archaeologist-cum-intelligence officer of the first two decades of the century, had been a colleague of T. E. Lawrence and Leonard Woolley. The main contributor to the volume on Persia was Dr J. V. Harrison, formerly the geologist of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, who made a name as an explorer in little-known parts of Iran and Borneo. Palestine and Transjordan was largely the work of A. H. Hyamson, late Director of Immigration, Palestine, and author of several scholarly books.

      Not all the contributors were academics and information was collected from many other sources. The Western Arabia volume acknowledges the assistance of St John Philby, while photographs were forthcoming from such explorers as Sir Claremont Skrine, Bertram Thomas, Gertrude Bell and Freya Stark, as well as such organisations as the Royal Air Force, the Royal Geographical Society and the Palestine Exploration Society.

    • Documentary Importance

      Each volume contains authoritative accounts of the history, administration and public life of the country concerned. Economic geography, agriculture, trade and communications are dealt with in detail. In volumes designed for naval and military intelligence, particular attention is accorded to the coasts and topography; there are also street plans and photographs of every significant town as well as of the archaeological sites. There are numerous tables and statistical details and bibliographies. The Handbooks are remarkable for the broad view they convey of the culture and civilisation of each country. They provide a full, splendidly illustrated, geographic encyclopaedia and contain a great deal of information still of current use.

    • Arrangement of Volumes

      ARRANGEMENT OF VOLUMES

      This edition is reprinted from original volumes in the Geographical Handbook Series produced by the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty, London. The following volumes are now re-published.
      I Iraq and the Persian Gulf. 1944. xviii + 682pp. 237 photographs, 97 maps. Folding map of communications.
      II Western Arabia and the Red Sea. 1946. xx + 660pp. 357 photographs, 47 maps.
      III Palestine and Transjordan. 1943. xvi + 622pp. 183 photographs, 62 maps. Folding map of communications.
      IV Syria. 1943. xvi + 486pp. 148 photographs, 68 maps.
      V Persia. 1945. xx + 638pp. 337 photographs, 61 maps.

      CONTENTS OUTLINE

      The regions of modern Iraq, Iran, the Arabian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula are treated in five volumes. The contents of each handbook follow the same general structure.

      I Introduction
      Frontiers - Administrative divisions - Place names and spelling - Sources and surveys

      II Physical geography
      Geology - Topography - Regional descriptions - River systems

      III The coast
      Description of the seaboard approaches

      IV Climate, vegetation and fauna
      Pressure - Winds - Temperature - Humidity - Vegetation and animal life region by region

      V History
      Early times - Roman period - Arab rule - Rise of Islam - Turkish rule - The 20th century - The Great War - Development up to 1940s

      VI The people
      Race and nationalities - Minorities - Language - Religion - Culture - Way of life - Settlements

      VII Administration
      Central government - Local government - Judicial system - Waqf - Armed forces and police - Education - Medical services

      VIII Distribution of population
      Census figures or estimates - Population increase and mortality - Movements of population - Labour - Descriptions of chief towns

      IX Public health
      Statistics and sources - Causes of death - Incidence of main diseases - Medical services and facilities

      X Agriculture
      Irrigation - Crops - Pests - Land ownership - Stock raising - Forestry

      XI Industries
      Power - Development - Oil - Manufacturing - Tourism, etc.

      XII Finance and commerce
      Currency - Banking - Public revenue and expenditure - Trade Imports, exports, tariffs

      XIII Ports
      Review of main centres

      XIV Communications
      History and development of roads - History of railways - Organisation and traffic - Shipping services - Aviation and airfields - Review of routes

      Appendices include: Geological and meteorological tables - Chronological tables - Calendars and festivals - Historical sites and holy places - Weights and measures - Sheikhs and rulers - Glossaries and conversion tables - Authorship and bibliography

      Illustrations give comprehensive coverage of: Landscapes and topography - Rivers and coastlines - Vegetation - Historical buildings - The people: ways of life and tribal types - Houses and villages - Towns and cities - Industry - Ports - Roads and railways

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