The Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq were one of the most isolated
communities in the world. Few outsiders, let alone Europeans, had
been permitted to travel through their homeland, a mass of tiny
islands lost in a wilderness of reeds and swamps in southern Iraq.
One of the few trusted outsiders was the legendary explorer,
Wilfred Thesiger, who was Gavin Maxwell's guide to the
intricate landscape, tribal customs and distinctive architecture of
the Marsh Arabs. Thesiger's skill with a medicine chest and
rifle assured them a welcome in every hamlet, and Maxwell's
training as a naturalist and writer has left an invaluable record
of a unique community and a vanished way of life. Published in 1983
as part of Penguin Books Travel Library.