Book review: Desert Explorer ~ Patrick Clayton

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DESERT EXPLORER – A BIOGRAPHY OF COLONEL P.A. CLAYTON
Patrick Clayton (son), Zerzura Press

P.A. Clayton was one of the key figures in opening up the Libyan Desert in the early thirties. The book is a biography of the father by a son, who lived the first ten years of his life in Egypt, accompanying his father on several of his surveying expeditions deep into the desert, and the documented milestones in the explorer’s life are intermingled with details based on the author’s personal memories. It’s a pity, that the most significant of Clayton’s expeditions, those seeking the mythical Zarzura oasis in 1932 and 1933 are only described by quoting already published sources, revealing no new information. The son’s view is understandably biased, sometimes resulting in deviance from facts known from other sources, but never disturbingly so. Overall, the book is an excellent combination of already published information and personal experience, supplemented by previously unpublished photographs.

Andras Zboray

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