SETON-WILLIAMS, Marjory Veronica. Britain and the Arab States. A Survey of Anglo-Arab Relations, 1920-1948. London, Luzac & Company, 1948.
8vo. Original black cloth; pp. ix, 330, two sketch maps, two folding maps, apart from rubbing to spine, near-fine.
Scarce first edition. The Australian middle East archaeologist Marjory Seton-Williams (1910-1992) had studied first political science at Melbourne University, an education that made her well-suited, alongside her practical archaeological work in the Middle east, to write this rare book, her only non-archaeological publication. After important and long digging campaigns the outbreak of the Second World war interrupted her career. 'Like so many in Britain, the archaeologist immediately volunteered for war service, beginning with London's Fire Brigade, which proved to be both dangerous and exhausting work. After suffering an appendectomy with complications, she needed quieter work and found it with the Bureau of Censorship which had an Uncommon Language Department where she worked using her knowledge of Greek, but also volunteered two nights a week as an air-raid warden. After a year with the Postal Censorship Department, she managed a transfer to the Ministry of Information, again in Press Censorship and later Traveler's Censorship. Next she was invited to work for the British Council which had just lost their Middle East officer in the war. She was with them one year, but did not like administrative work and was dismayed at the Council's lack of knowledge about the Middle East and its people and customs. Returning to the Ministry of Information, Reference Division, she "wrote background papers for journalists and MPs and others sent abroad on foreign missions." gravitating to the Middle East and Balkans, and stayed with the Ministry after the end of the war. Her experience in the Middle East and her evaluation of the low level of information on the home front encouraged her writing the book Britain and the Arab States, published by Luzac in 1948 (Barbara Lesko, Marjory Veronica Seton-Williams 1910-1992, Brown Unversity, online).