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The island of Socotra is a dot on the map where the Gulf of Aden meets the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. Socotra is a mysterious mountain land with Bedouin cave-dwellers and strange and primitive forms of animal and plant life, including the peculiar dragon's blood tree.
In 1956 Douglas Botting and five young fellow-travellers mounted the first scientific expedition to Socotra since 1899, and found much to discover archaeologically, botanically, zoologically, and most of all, anthropologically. They took blood samples, filmed people and dwellings, recorded the local language, collected flora and fauna, and provided medical services. On mountain treks they endured 'The Pestilences of the Three Hs' -- hakak (fleas), which bit them in caves where they slept, hagal (smoke), which choked them in huts where they cooked and humera (donkeys), which jumped on them if they camped in the open. But the people of Socotra were cordial hosts and mostly quite pleased to be the object of western curiosity.
A remarkable classic of travel writing, Island of the Dragon's Blood is a fresh, vivid and beautifully-written account of a journey that brought up to date our knowledge of a contemporary people with an ancient culture.
Originally published in 1958 by Hodder and Stoughton.
'A delightful science-travelogue' - New Scientist