More than fifty years ago, the great Arabist Wilfred Thesiger spent several months of each year living among the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq. Today, few traces remain of the Marsh Arabsthey were almost completely obliterated under Saddam Husseinbut Thesiger's account of this vanished civilization lives on. The Marsh Arabs is published here for the first time in paperback in the United States. The new introductory essay by New Yorker writer Jon Lee Anderson, author of the national bestseller The Fall of Baghdad, is equal parts elegy for the Marsh Arabs as it is elegy for Thesiger, who died three years ago at the age of 93.
Alongside The Marsh Arabs, Penguin Classics is proud to publish a 50th-anniversary edition of Thesiger's Arabian Sands, "the book about Arabia to end all books about Arabia" (Daily Telegraph), featuring a new introduction by Rory Stewart, whose two books about his travels in Afghanistan and IraqThe Places in Between and The Prince of the Marsheswere thunderously acclaimed national bestsellers last year.