A glittering geographic tour of the astonishing history, peoples, climate, creatures, sights and sounds of the largest and most austere desert on earth. Ten thousand years ago, the Sahara was a temperate grassland - petrified trees mark where forests used to stand, and former riverbeds are rich in the petrified bones of hippos, elephants, zebras, buffalo and gazelles. Then a slight shift in the earth's axis transformed it with astonishing speed, creating a vast desert where sand dunes arise virtually overnight. Throughout the millennia, diverse populations have struggled to make this severe landscape borne. Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle chronicle the desert's nations and peoples and the legacies they have left to the sand : stone circles older than Stonehenge, Roman aqueducs, remnants of Greek fields and vineyards, and the ruins of palaces and temples front the great empires of Old Africa. Illuminated by written testimonies of part travellers, Sahara conveys the majesty, mystery and abundance of the desert's life in an evocative biography of the land and its people.