Format Hardcover
Publication Date 11/07/23
ISBN 9781639365074
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 352

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Wounded Tigris

A River Journey Through the Cradle of Civilization

Leon McCarron

A fascinating journey down the Tigris River—the lifeblood of human civilization—in search of history and hope.

Starting at the source of this storied river, where ancient Mesopotamians and Assyrian kings had their images carved into stone, explorer Leon McCarron and his small team will journey through the Turkish mountains, across north-east Syria and into the heart of Iraq.

Along the way, they will pass through historic cities like Diyarbakir, Mosul, and Baghdad. We will meet fishermen and farmers, along with 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 as he follows the river to its end in the Persian Gulf.

For readers of Simon Winchester, Erika Fatland, and Kevin Fedarko, 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.

Leon McCarron is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and explorer from Northern Ireland. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Geographical Society of Philadelphia's Explorer of the Year, and is known for long-distance expeditions and immersive multimedia storytelling. In the past decade he has travelled over 50,000km by human power, and is currently based in Iraq.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"A brave adventure grippingly evoked and featuring pertinent historical context. An Iraq-based Northern Irish journalist ventures down the Tigris River through the fraught landscape of Turkey, Kurdistan, Syria, and Iraq. The narrative flows organically, delineating such daily hardships as negotiating with the police, as well as the evening delights of breaking bread with new friends in their homes." Kirkus Reviews
"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, star of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and A Fish Called Wanda
Wounded Tigris is an affecting look at communities that deserve attention and aid in the face of environmental catastrophe. McCarron writes with empathy about the people his group met along the way, capturing the joys and traditions that endure despite upheaval.” Booklist
“Brilliant. Documenting the reality of a war-torn region from a river’s point of view––including many stretches that are no longer navigable because of military ordinances––Wounded Tigris captures the peculiar beauty and enduring importance of one of humanity’s first waterways.” Foreword Reviews (starred)
“Hewn with the visceral language and spirit you’d expect from this adventurer.” National Geographic Traveller
“A journey through both time and ecological crisis: as epic as it is engaging.” Tom Holland, author of Rubicon, Dominion, and Persian Fire, and host of The Rest is History
“Filled with captivating insight into the history of humanity through the navigation of the Cradle of Civilization.” Barham Salih, President of Iraq (2018-2022)
“Real travel writing - hard hitting, with a flowing momentum, hitting a strong modern country…a truly epic journey.” Sophy Roberts, author of Lost Pianos of Siberia
“A reminder of what a great civilisation Iraq once was, what has been destroyed, and what humanity loses in the death of a civilisation. And it gave me itchy feet!" Emma Sky, Founding Director of Yale's International Leadership Center, author of The Unravelling 
“A swashbuckling tale…dodging mines and gun-cradling militia, mccarron returns to tell a tale of a river under assault.” Financial Times