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.