Notes: Thesiger is unique in his simple, unadulterated curiosity about the lives of the Marsh Arabs. He did it in the wonderful book and he has done it here again with The Marsh Arabs. He was also an accomplished photographer who documented individuals, landscape, boats and dwellings. The Marsh Arab was no exception. With the 1958 revolution and the overthrow of the monarchy, Iraq descended into a period of chaos and lawlessness. This is an elegantly written account of years spent with various tribes and provides a very rich anthropological study, of society, politics, architecture and ritual.
O Again, the things you find in thrift-stores. 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. The influence of a different world of state structures and economies open to world markets is seen as irrevocable breach with a traditional way of life rather than just another change. No-one who can take you inside a vanishing Arab culture better than Wilfred Thesiger. The marshlands consist of a 6,000 square area of wetlands where the Tigris and Euphrates close in on each other and eventually meet before flowing into the Shatt Al-Arab waterway, pass the city of Basra, and merge into the Arabian Gulf.
Description: 233 pages, 48 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 20 cm. 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 so successfully. Among the Sudan and the Suaid -- 20. It is an excellent book, and a wonderful insight that one seldom gets from other reading material. The photos and more can be found in the Pitt Rivers Museum collection. The writing is workmanlike, not at all poetic.
Not least it is an homage to a beautiful, but now vanished landscape and way of life. The Marsh Arabs pays tribute to their hospitality, loyalty, courage and endurance and is a moving testament to their threatened culture. The dirty, dank living space. He is the author of The Lion's Grave: Dispatches From Afghanistan 2002 and The Fall of Baghdad 2004. He seemed to fully respect whichever culture he was I enjoyed Thesiger's book Arabian Sands better and debated about giving this one 4 stars. The basic medical supplies that Thesiger brought with him and his ability to provide some simple medical care assured him a friendly reception amongst the marsh Arabs and his account does benefit from the evocative photographs that he took on his travels. However, despite the frequent poetic excesses, Thesiger's book provides an excellent case study of an archaic society collapsing in the 20 the century.
The Marsh Arabs live under a brand of justice that can be harsh and frequently cause bloody family feuds since the aggrieved party has the right to demand blood money or kill the killer. I wish his works were more well known and read. Travelling widely within the marshes the author provides an anthropological record of life and customs within the tribes that occupy these areas. As he travelled from village to village by canoe, he won acceptance by dispensing medicines and treating the sick and soon came to understand and share a way of life that had endured for many centuries. The Marsh Arabs is a travel classic that was written not long before the way he described vanished forever. The English author was allowed nearly free passage amongst these people for several years, and gives us a look both as insiders and outsiders to this world. Attempts are currently being made to restore the marshlands, but the way of life that thrived in this environment is probably lost forever.
He wasn't as taken with the Marsh Arabs as he had been by the Bedouin his travels with them are described in. Their way of life was ancient, perhaps going back to the days of ancient Sumer -- but then so much of what was ancient has been wiped off the face of the Earth in the last few decades. Their habits, customs, feuds, animals, tragedies and joys as he experienced them are set down. If you have an interest in the daily life and customs of people very different from yourself, I recommend this book. Seeking to lose himself in a place untrammeled by the trappings of modern civilization, a place where people live as they have lived for many thousand years, Thesiger found what he was looking for in the marshlands. He is best known for two travel books: Arabian Sands 1959 and The Marsh Arabs 1964. Thankfully, we have the remarkable Thesiger to tell us about those days, and to offer an implicit warning about what happens to societies that give in to technocracy and brute nationalism under guise of anti-colonialism.
His travels also took him to Iraq, Persia now Iran , Kurdistan, French West Africa, Pakistan, and Kenya. I hope their lifestyle and the ecosystem they dwell in has persisted despite the tumultuous events their country has endured. The mustarjil is accepted on equal terms as any male and is treated accordingly with no hint of stigmatization or marginalization. That is quite some skill. One can argue — with good reason - that he reflects the last grasp of British Colonialism in the region; however, one can equally argue that Thesiger had an adventurous spirit and was fortunate enough in life to really act on that. Thesiger was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford University where he took a third in history. .
In the heart of the Marshes -- 10. While I was reading this book, it felt as if it were written some 75 or 100 years ago instead of 1964. Thesiger's writing is so understated that I often found myself re-reading a paragraph to fully appreciate his astonishing observations. I'm very glad I've read this. They will intrigue anyone wishing to broaden their understanding of human culture and history. As in Arabian Sands there is a sense of the fragility of these ways of life.
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. The Est'West lifestyle divide is constantly commented on, at times with surprising reflections because guess what, turns out the Marsh Arabs were actually pretty supportive of trans people, something which some societies are still struggling with nowadays. While I was reading this book, it felt as if it were written some 75 or 100 years ago instead of 1964. Although I didn't find myself as absorbed in the stories of the Marsh Arabs as compared to the desert Arabians, I was nonetheless so impressed with Thesiger's ability to integrate himself fully into the lives of whatever culture he was living with, in this case the Marsh Arabs. If I had never read The Marsh Arabs I would never have known these people existed or that reed building on this scale even took place.