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His presage about what would soon happen to the marshes and their inhabitants is haunting, for as Nik Wheeler photographer in Gavin Young's "Return to the Marshes" recently wrote in my "Wetlands of Mass Destruction: Soon the Marshes will probably be drained; when this happens, a way of life that has lasted for thousands of years will disappear. Another fascinating picture of a vanishing way of life From Amazon Wilfred Thesiger led an amazing life.
He was one of those Englishmen who are happiest when living far away from the comforts of modern life in dangerous surroundings with seemingly "primitive" people. Following many years living with the Bedu of the Empty Quarter, Thesiger traveled to Iraq to immerse himself in the life and culture of the Marsh Arabs.
What he found was a culture which was rich in protocols and customs, no less advanced than that of modern man, but rather a culture superbly adapted to the life within the marshes, a culture whose key feature of hospitality which is seemingly lacking from our modern life. And ultimately he finds the tragedy of a society which in the short term was being subsumed by western value and greed for possessions and which would ultimately be destroyed by a dictatorial government who would drain the Marshes in retribution for the locals support of an attempted coup.
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Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein drained most of these marshes because he knew the inhabitants would not bend to the ways of modern Iraq unless their water was taken away. Thankfully, we have the remarkable Wilfrid Thesiger to tell us about those days. Interesting companion reading and more customary of what we think of as "Arabia": What a delightful read.
Thesiger lived among the marsh Madan of Iraq several months of each year between to As he traveled thru the marshes by boat, he introduces the reader to the many friends he made and to the culture of a people he came to love.
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. The Marsh Arabs (Penguin Classics) [Wilfred Thesiger, Jon Lee Anderson] on uzotoqadoh.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. “Five thousand years of.
Since the marshes were drained to make way for "progress" and prosperity, this forgotten world is no more. An excellent read; the writing style is both descriptive and engaging, and the story itself fascinating. The book includes over a hundred photographic plates which augment the story tremendously, especially for the amazing reed mudhifs which are frequently the setting.
The photos and more can be found in the Pitt Rivers Museum collection. I have not yet read Arabian Sands but reviews of that earlier work complained about Thesiger's primitivism and romanticization of the Bedouin - I didn't see much of that in this book, only shades, and overall the telling is fairly forthright and balanced. Clearly Thesiger is no fan of modernization, but relative to the conditions in more urban Iraq at the time, there are no clear "rights" or "wrongs" on this position. In the Marsh Arabs Thesiger discusses conflicts, traditions, rituals, architecture, cuisine, relationships, marriages, funerals, justice system, and art as well as provides a non-chronological travel narrative.
One may have opinions regarding his right of performing the medical procedures without any medical training, however fact remains that these acts earned him respect and a reputation, and thus also the trust of the Madan, which in turn makes this book as a historic record very valuable. Apart from the reasons stated above, The Marsh Arabs proves to be a fast pacing and engaging read. More importantly, Thesiger makes the reader care and awakens a thought about the consequences of human interaction on nature.
In his very last chapter he discusses the transition many children of the Madan are making from the life in the marshes to life in the city. As it stands now, the Marsh Arabs is an excellent time capsule written by a well-informed traveler. Jul 29, Julie rated it liked it.
Again, the things you find in thrift-stores. To be perfectly fair, this one was chosen by my partner - I ended up reading it because I had finished the books I had chosen. He probably enjoyed more than I did. The interesting thing about travel memoirs is that, invariably, they're seen through the eyes of the beholder duh. And Thesiger makes for an entertaining narrator.
On the one hand, his admiration for the Marsh Arabs, their customs and rituals and their lifestyles becomes quickly apparent. O Again, the things you find in thrift-stores. On the other hand, one needs to bear in mind the fact that Thesiger is basically, one of the 'good old' English boys who went on 'gap decades' back in the day.
He's essentially a Westerner gawking and trying to assimilate. 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.
Feb 15, Rozlyn rated it really liked it. An excellent read; the writing style is both descriptive and engaging, and the story itself fascinating. The book includes over a hundred photographic plates which augment the story tremendously, especially for the amazing reed mudhifs which are frequently the setting. The photos and more can be found in the Pitt Rivers Museum collection. I have not yet read Arabian Sands but reviews of that earlier work complained about Thesiger's primitivism and romanticization of the Bedouin - I didn't see m An excellent read; the writing style is both descriptive and engaging, and the story itself fascinating.
I have not yet read Arabian Sands but reviews of that earlier work complained about Thesiger's primitivism and romanticization of the Bedouin - I didn't see much of that in this book, only shades, and overall the telling is fairly forthright and balanced. Clearly Thesiger is no fan of modernization, but relative to the conditions in more urban Iraq at the time, there are no clear "rights" or "wrongs" on this position. In any event, it doesn't get in the way of the narrative, which captures a disappearing culture in rich depth and perspective.
May 26, Mark Baines rated it liked it. A matter of fact account, almost memoir, of the period the author lived in the Iraqi marshes. Travelling widely within the marshes the author provides an anthropological record of life and customs within the tribes that occupy these areas. Their habits, customs, feuds, animals, tragedies and joys as he experienced them are set down. The magnificence of a properly made mudhif is well explained and the plates do them part A matter of fact account, almost memoir, of the period the author lived in the Iraqi marshes. The magnificence of a properly made mudhif is well explained and the plates do them partial justice.
The welcome received in each village is to be envied in most part. It is interesting that education is almost a beginning of the end of this lifestyle. It would also be interesting to read of a visit to the area now, after the marshes are beginning to be restored following Saddam's demise. Jun 18, Ellis Knox rated it really liked it Shelves: Thesiger had previously lived for five years among the Berbers; in this book he relates his long visits to the marshlands of the lower Tigris-Euphrates valley in Iraq.
The writing is workmanlike, not at all poetic. He recounts incidents without a blink and only cursory personal reactio Thesiger was one of that odd breed of Englishmen, from Sir Richard Burton to T. He recounts incidents without a blink and only cursory personal reactions. The book is almost like a documentary camera taking us into the lives of these people now largely vanished. I'm very glad I've read this. If you have an interest in the daily life and customs of people very different from yourself, I recommend this book.
Apr 27, Oumaya rated it it was amazing Shelves: Great inspiration infered when in context of writing my thesis on nomadic tribes in the region.
The story holds an anthropological, ethnological and philosophical degree of investment from the standpoint of a modern wo man. Satisfies the cravings of the adventurous soul who wished to roam the world in quests of natural and human discoveries. Romanesque, engaging and truly mind changing when understanding one's own conjecture as a descendant of the Marsh Arabs. Pictures are added in the old editi Great inspiration infered when in context of writing my thesis on nomadic tribes in the region. Pictures are added in the old edition I have found in my father's cellar, which really invites the reader to wander and visualize the material descriptions which are akin to a naturalist viewpoint, and far from being on the side of erring.
All in all, a well rounded journey for the mind willing to travel, and learn. Enjoyable memoire and travelogue, if for anything, the exoticism of a time and place long past. Thesiger is a clear and precise writer with a keen observer's eye for custom, language, and manners. The book is of course dated, however, learning about the mores of the Marsh Arabs and the bits of historicism make this a worthy read. Apr 06, Jordan Schermerhorn rated it really liked it. Yet as a travelogue this somehow still excels, especially structurally how did I pick up all of these local terms so quickly?!
Finishing it felt like extracting myself from the bulrushes. A fascinating and insightful book which seems to belong to a very different era. The writing didn't quite flow at times, but the content ensured that this didn't detract from the story. The inclusion of photos worked well, adding extra interest. Feb 09, Ben rated it liked it. Good book but I was hoping for another Arabian Sands. That book stays with you. It become a chore to read rather than can't wait too.
Jun 19, John Robinson rated it really liked it. Amazing portrait of a vanished world. Fascinating portrayal of a way of life - great clarity to the writing, unsentimental but deeply committed to people and friendships. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Between and , Thesiger represented Oxford at boxing and later became captain of the Oxford boxing team.
In , Thesiger returned to Africa, having received a personal invitation by Emperor Haile Selassie to attend his coronation.
He returned again in in an expedition, funded in part by the Royal Geographical Society, to explore the course of the Awash River. During this expedition, he became the first European to enter the Aussa Sultanate and visit Lake Abbe. There is a rare wartime photograph of Thesiger in this period.
He appears in a well-known photograph usually used to illustrate the badge of the Greek Sacred Squadron. It is usually captioned ' a Greek officer of the Sacred Band briefing British troops '.
The officer is recognisably the famous Tsigantes and one of the crowd is recognisably Thesiger. Thesiger is the tall figure with the distinct nasal profile. Characteristically, he is in Arab headdress. Thesiger was the liaison officer to the Greek Squadron. Meanwhile, from to , he explored the southern regions of the Arabian peninsula and twice crossed the Empty Quarter.
He returned to England in the s and was knighted in Thesiger is best known for two travel books. Arabian Sands recounts his travels in the Empty Quarter of Arabia between and and describes the vanishing way of life of the Bedouins. The Marsh Arabs is an account of the Madan, the indigenous people of the marshlands of southern Iraq. Thesiger took many photographs during his travels and donated his vast collection of 25, negatives to the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. Books by Wilfred Thesiger. See All Goodreads Deals….