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Although it's out of print, CM Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta, originally published in 1888, is still the Saudi Arabian travel journal. TE Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom is another gem of the genre, while Richard Burton's Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah, originally published in 1855, is one of the few accounts of the holy cities written by a non-Muslim.At the Drop of a Veil, by Marianne Alireza, tells the story of a Californian who married into a Saudi family in the 1940s. Crossing Borders, by Judith Caesar, gives a more contemporary view of women's role in Saudi society.The Kingdom, by Robert Lacey, is one of the best works on modern Saudi Arabia.Jonathan Raban takes an interesting jaunt through the peninsula in Arabia, a Journey Through the Labyrinth.Hajj Paintings, by Ann Parker and Avon Neal, is a coffee-table guide to murals commissioned by Hajjis to commemorate their pilgrimages.If you're after a racier view of the kingdom, try Hilary Mantel's thriller, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street.

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