Charles Guthrie

Arabian Knights

The War That Never Was: The True Story of the Men Who Fought Britain’s Most Secret Battle


Century 382pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

This is an extraordinary story that needed to be told. The events this book records happened some fifty years ago in a world very different from today’s, when the Cold War was at its height. British influence across the globe was in decline – Suez was a recent humiliation – but in South Arabia the British still had responsibility for a protectorate comprising a number of small states known as the South Arabian Federation. One of these states, Aden, had been under British control since 1838. By the 1960s it had little to offer; the duty-free port, once an important coaling station serving vessels going to and from India, attracted ever fewer ships. It shared a troubled border with Yemen. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,