‘The sun had set by the time we reached Kidi, a satin sunset of oyster and duck-egg blue, against which trailed long skeins of flighting ibis . . .’
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, in the form of A Reed Shaken by the Wind, an invaluable record of a unique community and a vanished way of life.
‘. . . an almost perfect book of travel.’ New Yorker