• Philip Ammerman

Sand, Wind and War



Memory is a strange thing.


A long time ago (1992?) at Princeton I was reading up on sedimentation and somehow came across RA Bagnold’s autobiography, Sand, Wind and War.


I never forgot reading a particular passage about him camping out in the desert and finding a Stone Age tool in the exact place he found to lay his watch.


For Christmas, I was able to order this from Amazon. The reading, finished on Saturday, is even better with the benefit of age. A truly fascinating life. I’ve marked the passage, for my own memory if nothing else.


Bagnold was born during Victoria’s reign, fought in the trenches in France, studied at Cambridge, and explored the great Libyan desert all the way to Sudan and Chad while stationed in Egypt.


He and his companions gained the desert knowledge that would form the Long Range Desert Group and would carry David Stirling’s SAS into action in WWII.


Along the way he wrote The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes, which remains a classic of the field. He retired a Brigadier and later earned some of the highest awards in geology.


A bygone era.


A life well lived.

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