ARABIAN NIGHTS AND DAZE: Living in Yemen with the Foreign Service

Susan Clough Wyatt
Scarith, 2010
302 Pages, 100 Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9828061-2-8 Paperback

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About the Author

Susan Clough Wyatt worked for the U.S. Department of State as a summer intern, an analyst in the Intelligence and Research Division, the post secretary in Sanaa, Yemen, and finally as career development coordinator in the Family Liaison Office in Washington, DC. She taught English to pre-med students at the University of Jordan, and  worked at NC State University in Raleigh and later for Right Management Consultants. She published a memoir, Thirty Acres More or Less: Restoring a Farm in Virginia.

About the book

Arabian Nights and Daze: Living in Yemen with the Foreign Service follows a United States Foreign Service couple as they renew an official presence in Yemen. Arriving three years after the 1967 closure of the American embassy in Sanaa, the couple experimented with this unique form of “diplomacy under a foreign flag” when they opened up and managed the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) within the Italian Embassy.


Set only eight years after the Republican Revolution had ousted a thousand-year-old dynasty of Shiite (Zaydi) Muslim imams, the memoir describes with both humor and respect the country’s struggles in the early throes of becoming a modern, viable state. The book offers favorable glimpses of the country, its people, and its culture in this remote corner of Arabia. The last two chapters of the memoir compare Yemen then and now as seen through the eyes of recent visitors who also lived there in the 1970s, and describe a number of major challenges the present Yemeni government faces as it attempts to maintain stability in the face of a global terrorism threat that continues to penetrate its borders.

This is a book in the ADST Memoirs and Occasional Papers Series.

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“This is a must read for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of American diplomacy at the height of the Cold War as seen unusually from the spouse’s point of view.”

– Jon Mandaville, Professor of Middle East Studies, Portland State University

“Here we have a rich and loving portrait of Yemen the way it used to be, before international events and headlines ruined the reputation of this charmingly eccentric country and made it a place to be feared.”

– Angela Dickey, U.S. Foreign Service officer and former political officer, U.S. Embassy, Sanaa, 1997–1999.