The Bedouin of Saudi Arabia: Background information when reading Finding Nouf

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Finding Nouf

by Zoë Ferraris

Finding Nouf
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2008, 320 pages
    May 2009, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Beyond the Book:
The Bedouin of Saudi Arabia

Once the undisputed masters of the desert, Bedouin tribes have diminished over the last couple of centuries – mostly due to governments intent on taxation and political control – to become only about 10% of today's Saudi population. They are still a distinct sect and although Nayir al-Sharqi is not a Bedouin by blood he has been raised as one which sets him apart from urban Arabs in several ways. First and foremost, he knows his way around the desert while his urban friends (whose ancestors were likely Bedouins) would never think of leaving home without their GPS.

Bedouins (from the Arabic word bedu, meaning inhabitants of the desert) have controlled the desert trade routes for thousands of years as nomads who followed livestock migration routes, providing meat and dairy products to desert communities. Due to their knowledge of the shifting desert sands...

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