McKAY, Margaret. Timeless Arabia. [Cairo], Dar AL-Maaref, .
8vo. Original wrappers; pp. 405, , portrait frontispiece; wrapper a little crinkled, one page with trace of paper clip; otherwise good.
Incredibly rare first edition. Margaret McKay was a Lancashire firebrand, engaged in the Trade Union Movement, and Communist politics in the 1920s and 1930s. 'Her commitment to, and then disenchantment with, communism dominated her autobiography … in 1965, she began her association with the Arab world which dominated the rest of her life. Re-elected for Clapham in 1966—despite the allegations of her opponent that she flitted between Middle Eastern capitals collecting trinkets from sheikhs—she pursued an increasingly stormy political career. Following the Arab–Israeli war of 1967 she became one of the few parliamentary exponents of the Arab position, and founded the Anglo-Saudi Parliamentary Association. Through the Anglo-Jordan Alliance, funded by Sheikh Zayed (later president of the United Arab Emirates), she arranged for MPs to visit the Palestinian territories; she captured media attention by establishing a Palestinian refugee camp in Trafalgar Square, and by wearing Arab robes in the House of Commons. She read her parliamentary speeches to Fatah guerrillas and befriended King Hussein of Jordan, who honoured her by issuing a postage stamp depicting her cradling a refugee baby … In 1971, at Sheikh Zayed's invitation, McKay emigrated to the United Arab Emirates, where she wrote on her adopted region and on women in history. Although continuing to arrange visits to the Middle East by British delegations, she became increasingly reclusive. She died on 1 March 1996 in Abu Dhabi, where she was buried in the Christian cemetery' (ODNB). This substantial book is both a cultural history of the Arabs, as well as an analysis of the economic and technological potential of the region. An epilogue describes advanced life and society in Abu Dhabi in the year 2071.
We could only locate three copies in libraries via COPAC, at University of Exeter, Cambridge and at Swansea University Library.