THE MARSH ARABS by Wilfred  Thesiger
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This is a must for any library, written by a British traveler with a gift for description and anecdote and none for the usual travelogue insipidities. His present study of the Marsh Arabs of the Tigris-Euphrates region of Iraq has all the high interest of T. E. Lawrence, minus the guerrilla warfare. The author spent eight years living with the boating tribes of the marshes, existing largely on their terms of hardship, minimal food, thirst and exposure to the weather. This marsh civilization has endured for over five thousand years in pretty much the same fashion as today, although tens of great conquerors have swept over the area and occupied it (sometimes moving out most of the population and relocating other tribes there). The Marsh Arabs have, however, generally garrulity, impractical generosity and avariciousness, deep religiosity coupled with an aristocratic fatalism. Thesiger narrates many exciting moments, of blood feuds and wild pig hunts, and a few tragedies.

ISBN: 0141442085
Publisher: Dutton