Sheikh Khaled, Sheikh Shakhbut, The Sultan of Muscat, and Sheikh Zaid



The Golden Bubble

Arabian Gulf Documentary




LONDON:     First Edition  1957



Publisher/ Year: LONDON, Collins, [First Published,  1957.
Binding: Original Hardcover,  22x15 cm.
Size/Pages: 255.
Illustrations: 13 illustrations.

   Please see book CONDITION at end    жжж

Roderic Franklin Fenwick Owen (1921-2011)

Roderic Owen was educated at Eton as a King's Scholar and at Balliol College, Oxford. During the war he served with the R.A.F. in North Africa, Italy and Sicily. In I946 he was asked to write The History of the Desert . Air Force, and this was the start of his writing career. In the late 'forties he decided to do some beachcombing in the South Seas before he was too old, and spent some time travelling around Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti. This experience gave him the first hand knowledge of life in these parts that he used in writing a travel book, Where the Poor are Happy, and two novels, Green Heart of Heaven and Worse than Wanton. His latest journey, around the Arabian Gulf, is the subject of this book.
The word Arabian Gulf which was invented by another British advisor in the Gulf, Sir Charles Belgrave, was firstly used by Roderic Owen, in his book "Golden Bubble, Arabian Gulf Documentary" in 1957. Roderic Owen died in London on 21 February 2011.



Original 1957  First Edition


Fascinating True Life of Arabian Gulf States
and their Rulers more than
50 Years ago

Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi,
Muscat, Ras al Khaima,
and Sharjah

THE GOLDEN BUBBLE is an Arabian Nights adventure story about a year spent in the Arabian (or Persian) Gulf, where the fabulous oil boom has superimposed fantastic wealth on some of the oldest and most primitive communities of the world. Besides being an excellent and informative documentary, the book has a quality that is dreamlike in its strangeness, as the author introduces us to merchants owning fifty private Cadillacs, and sheikhs who turn down £30,000,000 bribes.
    Roderic Owen's personal story is an extra-ordinary one. He was, for instance, the only European ever to have set up house in the exclusive non-European part of the old town of Muharraq; he was simultaneously friends with Sir Charles Belgrave, the British adviser to the Ruler of Bahrain, and with a leading Arabian political agitator; he was made official poet to a sheikh - ruler of the greater part of what used to be called the Pirate Coast - who may become a multi-millionaire at any moment.

Sheikh Shakhbut and Sheikh Zaid of Abu Dhabi ...

Whilst holding Sheikh Shakhbut's hand, and hearing him murmur the conventional  greetings I had delighted by a twinkle in his eyes. Twinkles are always very pleasing, and varied (sometime professional, lustful, lunatic, but even so better than the same without twinkle). Sheikh Shakhbut was endearing and penetrating and more beside which I didn't know what to make of ; at the time I could only think of it as being highly individual. What I was excited to find was that it was not just friendly  but unusually friendly. I felt that upsurge of joy which everyone who has ever taken to anyone at first sight knows well, a rare, a thrilling thing outside our control. ...

On hunting trip, Owen's wrote:
Later, we lay on the sand and shot at a target with a sten-gun. Sheikh Zaid scored the most hits. He was an exceptionally charming and manly man, well-liked by those Englishmen he had to deal with. They could understand him, or thought they could, whereas Sheikh Shakhbut was a mystery to many. Day after day, as the weeks went by, I saw the two brothers together on all occasions from the most formal, when Bedouin camped near whatever desert well we'd chosen for the night came in to visit, to the most informal when we would relax in the privacy of Sheikh Shakhbut's tent , late at night. Sheikh Zaid was always the model of a younger brother, never dependent or obsequious, but never without a certain deference in his bearing. This gave me a great respect for him and more appreciation of Sheikh Shakhbut's importance. Day and night I was fortunate enough to be seeing what no expert however old-established or knowledgeable had seen - the brothers together over a long period of time under a unique variety of circumstances.

The Ruler Of Ras Al Khaima With The Author

Contents ...


  1. Why Go?

  2. The Voyage Out

  3. Kuwait First Impressions

  4. Bahrain Looking Round

  5. The Sahib of Muharraq

  6. By Dhow To Abu Dhabi

  7. Abu Dhabi

  8. Back In Bahrain

  9. Return To Kuwait

  10. Bahraini Affairs

  11. Qatar

  12. Regent of Das

  13. Along The Trucial Coast

  14. Hunting With Sheikh Shakhbut: The Start

  15. Buraimi Oasis

  16. The Falcons

  17. The Hunter’s Return

  18. Bahrain—Trouble Brewing

  19. Bahrain—Trouble

  20. Endpiece

Appendix I
Short History of Buraimi Oasis and the Slave Trade

Appendix II
Aftermath of Trouble in Bahrain

On The Beach At Abu Dhabi

Illustrations ...

  • An Historic Meeting

  • The Qatar Petroleum Company’s Camp, Dukhan

  • A Kuwait Oil Company Gathering Centre

  • The Courtyard Of The Mosque At Muharraq

  • On The Beach At Abu Dhabi

  • The Ruler Of Ras Al Khaima With The Author

  • Das Island

  • Gulzaman Holding A Baby Camel

  • Sheikh Khaled, Sheikh Shakhbut, The Sultan Of Muscat, And Sheikh Zaid

  • One Of Sheikh Sbakhbut’s Favourite Falcons

  • A Kill Before Sunset

  • The Orator

  • Sir Charles Belgrave

Das Island

~ Click on Page to Read ~

The Orator: Adbul Aziz Shemlan addressing a crowd during the trouble in Bahrain

~ Click on Page to Read ~

Sir Charles Belgrave, Adviser to the Ruler of Bahrain

The Courtyard Of The Mosque At Muharraq

Condition ...

Foxing on prelim pages, otherwise book is in very good condition. Very Scarce.




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