The Marsh Arabs
Author: Wilfred Thesiger
“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. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Wilfred Thesiger
Arabian Sands is Wilfred Thesiger's record of his extraordinary journey through the parched "Empty Quarter" of Arabia. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Thesiger was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life-"the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets." In the spirit of T. E. Lawrence, he set out to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels. His now-classic account is invaluable to understanding the modern Middle East.
What can the present tell us about the past? From 1968 to 1990, Edward Ochsenschlager conducted ethnoarchaeological fieldwork near a mound called al-Hiba, in the marshes of southern Iraq. In examining the material culture of three tribes—their use of mud, reed, wood, and bitumen, and their husbandry of cattle, water buffalo, and sheep—he chronicles what is now a lost way of life. He helps us understand ancient manufacturing processes, an artifact's significance and the skill of those who create and use it, and the substantial moral authority wielded by village craftspeople. He reveals the complexities involved in the process of change, both natural and enforced. Al-Hiba contains the remains of Sumerian people who lived in the marshes more than 5,000 years ago in a similar ecological setting, using similar material resources. The archaeological evidence provides insights into everyday life in antiquity. Ochsenschlager enhances the comparisons of past and present by extensive illustrations from his fieldwork and also from the University Museum's rare archival photographs taken in the late nineteenth century by John Henry Haynes. This was long before Saddam Hussein drove one of the tribes from the marshes, forced the Bedouin to live elsewhere, and irrevocably changed the lives of those who tried to stay.
Annotation. This text is for those wishing to develop an understanding of a cultural legacy and lifestyle that survives today only as a fragmented cultural inheritance. The book illustrates how the economy and lives of the Ma'dan (Marsh Arabs) that spans over 5000 years remained similar to the ancient practices of their Sumerian forebears.
Return to the Marshes
Author: Gavin Young
Publisher: Faber & Faber
It was the legendary traveller Wilfred Thesiger who first introduced Gavin Young to the Marshes of Iraq. Since then Young has been entranced by both the beauty of the Marshes and by the Marsh Arabs who inhabit them, a people whose lifestyle is almost unchanged from that of their predecessors, the Ancient Sumerians. On his return to the Marshes some years later Gavin Young found that the twentieth-century had rudely intruded on this lifestyle and that war was threatening to make the Marsh Arabs existence extinct. Return to the Marshes, first published in 1977, is at once a moving tribute to a unique way of life as well as a love story to a place and its people. 'A superbly written essay which combines warmth of personal tone, a good deal of easy historical scholarship and a talent for vivid description rarely found outside good fiction.' Jonathan Raban, Sunday Times
This is a collection of Wilfred Thesiger's greatest journeys - in the Empty Quarter of Arabia, the marshes of Iraq, the mountains of the Hindu Kush and Kurdistan, and the Yemen - illustrated with Thesiger's own photographs.
A portrait of the marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, and their disappearing way of life.
The Danakil Diary
Author: Wilfred Thesiger
This is the account of two journeys Thesiger made into Danakil country in Abyssinia, now Ethiopia, in 1930-34. He managed to survive in a dangerous country among the Danakil tribesmen where a man's status depended on the number of men he killed and castrated.
This book is part of the TREDITION CLASSICS series. The creators of this series are united by passion for literature and driven by the intention of making all public domain books available in printed format again - worldwide. At tredition we believe that a great book never goes out of style. Several mostly non-profit literature projects provide content to tredition. To support their good work, tredition donates a portion of the proceeds from each sold copy. As a reader of a TREDITION CLASSICS book, you support our mission to save many of the amazing works of world literature from oblivion.
Author: Alexander Maitland
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Wilfred Thesiger, the last of the great gentlemen explorer-adventurers, became a legend in his own lifetime. This authorised biography by a longstanding friend and associate delves into his little-known character and motivations, as well as recounting the details of his extraordinary life.While Wilfred Thesiger's own classic writings (including The Marsh Arabs, Arabian Sands, Desert, Marsh and Mountain, The Life of My Choice and My Kenya Days) comprehensively cover his classic journeys amongst the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq, across the Empty Quarter in Arabia, they fail conspicuously to shed light on his character and motives, which have remained an enigma.Maitland's biography had Thesiger's support before he died in 2003, and has been written with full access, granted to no one else, to the rich Thesiger archive - vivid, intimate family correspondence, and his own letters, diaries and notebooks which are far more confiding than his scrupulously edited published accounts. Maitland investigates in depth Thesiger's parents and family influences; his wartime experiences and the ethos of conflict; his philosophy as a hunter and conservationist; his development as a writer and photographer; his close friendships with the Arabs and Africans amongst whom he lived; and his sexuality. In all, this major biography of a great and unusual man will take its place on the shelf of outstanding lives of the great explorers.
My Kenya Days
Author: Wilfred Thesiger
Publisher: Collins Doue
Author: G. J. H. van Gelder
Publisher: NYU Press
A major achievement in the field of translation, this anthology presents a rich assortment of classical Arabic poems and literary prose, from pre-Islamic times until the 18th century, with short introductions to guide non-specialist students and informative endnotes and bibliography for advanced scholars. Like many pre-modern Arabic anthologies it aims at being both entertaining and informative. It ranges from the early Bedouin poems with their evocation of desert life to refined urban lyrical verse, from tender love poetry to sonorous eulogy or vicious lampoons, and from the heights of mystical rapture to the frivolity of comic verse. The prose contains anecdotes, entertaining or edifying tales and parables, a fairy-tale, a bawdy story, samples of literary criticism, and much more. With this anthology, distinguished Arabist Geert Jan van Gelder brings together well-known texts as well as less familiar pieces that will be new even to scholars in the field. Many recent studies and anthologies of Middle Eastern literatures are primarily interested in Islam and religious matters--an emphasis that leads to the common misconception that almost everything in the region was and is dominated by religion. Classical Arabic Literature instead brings to life the rich variety of pre-modern Arabic social and cultural life, where secular texts happily coexisted with religious ones. This masterful anthology, in English only, will introduce this vibrant literary heritage to a wide spectrum of new readers.
The Life of My Choice
Author: Wilfred Thesiger
Publisher: W W Norton & Company Incorporated
As a child in Abyssinia he watched the glorious armies of Ras Tafari returning from hand-to-hand battle, their prisoners in chains; at the age of 23 he made his first expedition into the country of the Danakil, a murderous race among whom a man's status in the tribe depended on the number of men he had killed and castrated. His books, "Arabian Sands" and "The Marsh Arabs," tell of his two sojourns in the Empty Quarter and the Marshes of Southern Iraq. In this autobiography, Wilfred Thesiger highlights the people who most profoundly influenced him and the events which enabled him to lead the life of his choice.
The Road to Oxiana
Author: Robert Byron
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
In 1933 the delightfully eccentric Robert Byron set out on a journey through the Middle East via Beirut, Jerusalem, Baghdad and Teheran to Oxiana -the country of the Oxus, the ancient name for the river Amu Darya which forms part of the border between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. His arrival at his destination, the legendary tower of Qabus, although a wonder in itself, it not nearly so amazing as the thoroughly captivating, at times zany, record of his adventures. In addition to its entertainment value, The Road to Oxiana also serves as a rare account of the architectural treasures of a region now inaccessible to most Western travellers. When Paul Fussell "rediscovered" The Road to Oxiana in his recent book Abroad, he whetted the appetite of a whole new generation of readers. In his new introduction, written especially for this volume, Fussell writes: "Reading the book is like stumbling into a modern museum of literary kinds presided over by a benign if eccentric curator. Here armchair travellers will find newspaper clippings, public signs and notices, official forms, letters, diary entries, essays on current politics, lyric passages, historical and archaeological dissertations, brief travel narratives (usually of comic-awful delays and disasters), and--the triumph of the book--at least twenty superb comic dialogues, some of them virtually playlets, complete with stage directions and musical scoring."
In 1895, at the age of 51, Captain Joshua Slocum left Boston on his sloop Spray. Three years later, after sailing single-handed 46,000 miles around the world, Slocum returned to Newport, Rhode Island. Through this, he was revered by sailors and adventurers around the world. The story of this journey is a classic tale of achievement in the face of overwhelming odds. ""'Walden' without the training wheels."" -Nathaniel Philbrick