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Saif Marzooq al-Shamlan was born in Kuwait in 1926 and comes from a distinguished Kuwaiti family of pearl-merchants and seafarers. This is an edited translation of the two-volume work by him that was published in Arabic in the 1970s. It gathers together a vast amount of detailed information about the history of pearling in the Gulf that is nowhere else available in English. Based on documentary and oral evidence and on the author's memories and private archives, it describes the last generation of the pearling industry from 1900 to the slump of the 1930s, when the development of the Japanese cultured pearl led to economic disaster for the people of the Gulf. It records the grim conditions of the divers, their food, their work and the tools of their trade, their illnesses and the hazards of life at sea. There are stories of individual divers, ship-masters and pearl-merchants, stories of hardship, courage and adventure. The book puts pearling into the broader context, recounting how Kuwaiti fishermen operated in the Gulf at large and in Sri Lanka, and how merchants travelled as far afield as Bombay and Paris.