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. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,