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Wounded Tigris

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472156211

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 6th June 2024

Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure / Travel & Holiday / Travel Writing

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‘As epic as it is engaging’ Tom Holland

‘Jaunty, highly informative and ultimately sobering’ New York Review of Books

‘A fine book…
Leon McCarron’s tough journey paints a rich and enthralling portrait’ Sir Michael Palin

The river Tigris is in danger. It has been the lifeblood of ancient Mesopotamia and modern Iraq, but geopolitics and climate change have left the birthplace of civilisation at risk of becoming uninhabitable. In 2021, adventurer Leon McCarron travelled by boat along the full length of the river, in search of hope.

From the source, where Assyrian kings had their images carved into stone, McCarron and his small team journeyed through the Turkish mountains, across north-east Syria and into the heart of Iraq. Passing by historic cities like Diyarbakir, Mosul and Baghdad, McCarron kept the company of fishermen and farmers, but also artists, activists and archaeologists who rely on the flow of the river. Occasionally harassed by militias, often helped by soldiers, McCarron rode his luck in areas still troubled by ISIS and relied on the generosity of a network of strangers to reach the Persian Gulf.

Wounded Tigris is the story of what humanity stands to lose with the death of a great river, and what can be done to try to save it.


'Wounded Tigris is a fine book. Overcoming considerable difficulties Leon McCarron's tough journey paints a rich and enthralling portrait of a river that once helped create the first cities on earth, and is now fighting a battle for survival'
Michael Palin
'A brave adventure grippingly evoked and featuring pertinent historical context'
Kirkus Reviews
'This remarkable book warns of the death of a great river that might no longer flow to the Gulf by 2040 - and is a call to action to prevent the birthplace of civilisation from becoming uninhabitable'
Emma Sky, The New European
'A captivating insight into the history of humanity through navigating the cradle of civilisation, warning us about dire consequences of environmental degradation affecting this great river'
Barham Salih, President of Iraq 2018-2022
'A captivating journey'
John Cotterill, The Bookseller
'A brilliant, beautifully written, mad and mystical journey. Read it'
Quentin Sommerville, BBC Middle East Correspondent
'Reads like a classic piece of travel writing, but it is also an urgent warning about the havoc we are wreaking on our environment'
Daunt Books
'[McCarron's] jaunty, highly informative, and ultimately sobering book abounds in pristine landscapes, war-ravaged towns, and evidence of environmental degradation'
New York Review of Books
'Writing that combines a journalist's attention to facts with the eloquent style of a novelist... brave, erudite and determined'
Royal Society of Asian Affairs
'A journey through both time and ecological crisis: as epic as it is engaging'
Tom Holland
'Immensely readable true travel writing'
Robin Hanbury-Tenison
'McCarron recounts the environmental and geo-political threats facing the river and people who occupy its neighbouring lands. An insightful and worrying read, softened by the hospitality and courage of the people we meet along the journey'
Brigid O'Dea, Irish Times
'McCarron reveals what humanity stands to lose with the threatened death of a great river and what can be done to try to save it. His journey along the Tigris was the first attempt at a full descent since Ottoman times'
Jules Stewart, Geographical
'A combination of honest writing, diligent research, abundant empathy and an eye for a good story . . . [this] is a book by turns hard-hitting, urgent, gently lyrical and self-deprecating, a bittersweet pleasure'
Sunday Times
'A swashbuckling tale... dodging mines and gun-cradling militia, McCarron returns to tell a tale of a river under assault'
Financial Times