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Summary

For a period of seven years, Wilfred Thesiger canoed through the marshes at the confluence of Iraq's Tigris and Euphrates rivers, living among the native Madan tribes and their islands made of reeds. Now extinct, their ancient way of life is speculated to have existed for 5,000 years, going back to the days of ancient Sumer, and possessed a unique culture found nowhere else in the Middle East. Thesiger documents the tribes' conflicts, traditions, cuisine, relationships, justice systems, and art, and reveals how they built their unique water-borne society, with its beautiful canoes (taradas) and stately guest houses (mudhifs) - it is a remarkable familiarity gained through Thesiger's innate understanding of tribal ritual and etiquette, and the trust he earned through the use of a basic medical supply kit that he brought along with him. Poetic and immersing, The Marsh Arabs brings alive the sights, sounds, and smells of the marshes, and a culture that has now vanished forever.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©1964 Wilfred Thesiger (P)2019 Naxos Audiobooks

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  • 12-02-21

Stunning

An amazing story of a forgotten time, that I don’t think could ever be repeated.

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Interesting at first but gets monotonous

I enjoyed the first portion of this and I thought Laurence Kennedy did a brilliant job with his narration. However, after a few chapters the stories and anecdotes seemed to get repetitive and unvaried. 'They canoe to a house... eat some rice and mutton... go hunting... Thesiger hands out medicines...Canoe to another house...' I started to get a little uninterested and tired with this after a while. It's not to say that Thesiger doesn't have some fascinating insights and tales about his time living with these people, but as he states in the prologue, he isn't a writer, and to me, this showed as this audio book progressed. It lacks variety and style. Overall, I probably wouldn't recommend it unless you really want to learn about the Madan and other tribes of the marshes.