Book Review – The Camel and the wheel

Book Review – The Camel and the wheel
14/04/2011 Comments Off on Book Review – The Camel and the wheel Academic Papers on English,Sample Academic Papers admin


The book by Richard Bulliet, Camel and the Wheels, is an important piece of work in literary art which serves as an illustration for the role that camel has played in the society, over the ages. In this book, Professor Bulliet has primarily looked at the tremendous role that camel played in the Middle East as the animal of choice for Muslims while also compiling an account for the arrival of camel in the Middle East as well as the position it held in the North of America before the Middle East. In this effort, Professor Bulliet has also discussed the question of camel harness, bringing forward a number of interesting facts about camel saddle while also elaborating the facilitation it offered to Muslim invaders on their various conquests.

Dr. Bulliet has also used this book as a platform to hypothesize the departure of wheel-based carriages in the Middle East in favor of camels after their arrival in the region. The book posses a diverse list of bibliography with an impressive collection of illustration and sources, which highlight the well-informed position of the writer, however, at places struggle to present a convincing reading material to the reader. Despite this fact, the literary effort of Dr. Bulliet is appreciable as this work presents a very captivating descriptive chronology of the four legged native of the desert. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the stance taken by Dr. Bulliet in this book while reviewing it for a precise comprehension.

Book Review – The Camel and the Wheel

The reading of this book reveals that the chief value of the books does not fit well with the author’s own description.  Through this book, Dr. Bulliet has demonstrated the his impressive knowledge of the topic by bringing together a pool of interesting data ranging from zoology to anthropology combined with his eager investigative mentality, though the reader can still note some gaps, for instance, in the Arabic sources. Still the addition of this book to any bookshelf would be considered as an upgrade. The primary position of Dr. Bulliet in this book is a very prominent fact from history, which is the replacement of carts with camels as a major mode of transportation in some of the countries in the Middle East, for economic reasons. Initially, the camel started to substitute the carts in the Middle East region around fourth-sixth A.D. However, soon after this trend transformed into a major shift, with the use of wheels only restricted to only few localities that showed stern behavior to then change. Hence, the development of the Islamic culture was essentially in the absence of the wheeled-mode of transportation, till the resurgence of carts in the nineteenth century which happened after the European came to area and reintroduced the concept. In a response to the question of  why such as replacement happened, Dr. Bulliet has taken the position that camel serves as a  cheap and more capable alternative to horses, particularly in the environment where the formal presence of transportation networks is remote.  However, this position can be countered by the argument that camel is not always the cheapest as well as convenient mode of transportation. It can be backed up by the fact that during the Second World War, the Bikaner Camel Corps which operated in the deserts of Aden had to take care of the camels through the fodder provided by motor transport, while the fodder itself had to be imported from the Indian Subcontinent.

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