HILLYARD, Susan. Before The Oil. A Personal Memoir of Abu Dhabi 1954-1958. [Beckenham, Country Books for HD Press, 2002].
Original cream boards with illustrated wrappers; pp. 236, illustrations after rarely seen photographs; as new.
Very rare first edition. Susan Hillyard, her husband Tim, a BP representative, and their daughter Deborah, were the first Europeans to settle in Abu Dhabi, a city that had yet to become a hub for the oil industry. Tim oversaw the construction of an offshore exploration centre and liaised with Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the ruling emir of Abu Dhabi, and his brother Sheikh Zayed Al Nahayan (later the first president of the United Arab Emirates). By the time BP struck oil in 1958, at the Umm Shaif offshore field, Susan had become a valued link between the closeted realm hidden behind the walls of the royal palace of Qasr al Hosn, with its veiled sheikhas and heady incense, and the gin-and-tonic set of émigrés and struggling oil prospectors.