The Marsh Arabs

The Marsh Arabs

eBook - 1964
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Life and adventures of a British traveler during a seven-year stay (1951-58) among primitive tribes along the central marshes of Iraq.
Publisher: New York : Dutton, 1964
Edition: 1st American ed
Characteristics: 242 p. : ill., maps ; 22 cm

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wyenotgo
Nov 02, 2017

This book is a sort of time capsule, having captured and saved for posterity an intimate, detailed, clear-eyed and very personal description of an environment and an entire way of life that no longer exists. Regrettably, world politics, oil and despotism totally destroyed this unique world shortly after Thesiger's sojourn. A brutal dictatorship culminating in Saddam Hussein's folly saw to it that the iconic wetlands that had sustained life for thousands of years were drained, destroying not just an entire ecosystem but the Marsh Arabs who had lived there successfully. Thesiger's writing is so understated that I often found myself re-reading a paragraph to fully appreciate his astonishing observations. Perhaps even more impressive was the degree to which he was able to immerse himself in a way of life so vastly foreign to a European, the depth of personal friendships that he developed, the trust and respect that he won. A truly remarkable man who has left us a valuable historical and cultural artifact.

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