The Marsh Arabs

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Penguin, Jan 2, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
“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.
 

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Contents

Introduction by Jon Lee Anderson Chief Characters
Preface
A glimpse of the Marshes
Back on the edge of the Marshes
Hunting wild boar
Arrival at Qabab
First impressions of the Madan
In Sadams guest house
Among the Fartus
Feuds in the Marshes
Return to Qabab
Falih Bin Majid
Falihs death
The mourning ceremony
The Eastern Marshes
Among the Sudan and the Suaid

a Marsh village
Crossing the Central Marshes
In the heart of the Marshes
The historical background
Winning acceptance
Amaras family
Berbera and Mudhifs
My last year in the Marshes
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).

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