The Marsh Arabs

Front Cover
Penguin, Jan 2, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
2 Reviews
“Five thousand years of history were here and the pattern was still unchanged.”
 
During the years he spent among the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, Wilfred Thesiger came to understand, admire and share a way of life that had endured for many centuries. Travelling from village to village by canoe, he won acceptance by dispensing medicines and treating the sick. In this account of his time there, he pays tribute to the hospitality, loyalty, courage and endurance of the people, describes their impressive reed houses, the waterways and lakes teeming with wildlife, the herding of buffalo and hunting of wild boar, moments of tragedy and moments of pure comedy, all in vivid, engaging detail. Untouched by the modern world until recently, these independent people, their way of life and their surroundings suffered widespread destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Wilfred Thesiger's magnificent account of his time spent among them is a moving testament to their now threatened culture and the landscape they inhabit.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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User Review  - keylawk - LibraryThing

The author spent many years, at intervals, and over decades, among tribal Arabs living in the reed marshes of the lower Tigris. He recorded a life style which had lasted thousands of years, but is now ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breic2 - LibraryThing

Excellent book describing Thesiger's experiences in the old marshes of southern Iraq. The way of life of the marsh-dwellers is fascinating. They live on reed islands and raise water buffalo or cultivate rice. They build their houses out of giant reeds... Complemented by helpful photographs. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Chief Characters
12
Preface
13
A Glimpse of the Marshes
19
Back on the Edge of the Marshes
24
Hunting Wild Boar
34
Arrival at Qabab
44
First Impressions of the Madan
52
Feuds in the Marshes
117
Return to Qabab
123
Falih Bin Majid
132
Falihs Death
141
The Mourning Ceremony
149
The Eastern Marshes
155
Among the Sudan and the Suaid
164
Amaras Family
172

In Sadams Guest House
58
Bu Mughaifat A Marsh Village
67
Crossing the Central Marshes
78
In the Heart of the Marshes
88
The Historical Background
94
Winning Acceptance
102
Among the Fartus
111
1954 The Flood
182
1955 The Drought
193
Berbera and Mudhifs
200
Amaras Blood Feud
209
My Last Year in the Marshes
215
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Wilfred Thesiger (1910-2003) was a British explorer and travel writer. He was born at Addis Ababa, Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Educated at Eton and Oxford, he worked in the Sudan Political Service and later, for a year, as a Political Officer for the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie. He is best known for two travel books: Arabian Sands (1959) and The Marsh Arabs (1964).
 
Jon Lee Anderson (introducer) is one of America's most respected foreign correspondents and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of The Lion's Grave: Dispatches From Afghanistan (2002) and The Fall of Baghdad (2004).


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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