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Camel (Animal)
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A distinct symbol of the desert and the Middle East, the camel was once unkindly described as half snake, half folding bedstead. But in the eyes of many the camel is a creature of great beauty. This is most evident in the Arab world, where the camel has played a central role in the historical development of Arabic society. Beauty pageants are still held for camels in some Arabic countries, and an elaborate vocabulary and extensive literature have been devoted to them. In "Camel", Robert Irwin explores why the camel has fascinated so many cultures, including those in places where camels are not indigenous. He traces the history of the camel from its origins millions of years ago to the present day, discussing such matters of contemporary concern as the plight of camel herders in the Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, the alarming increase in the population of feral camels in Australia, and the endangered status of the wild Bactrian in Mongolia and China. Throughout history, the camel has been appreciated worldwide for its practicality, resilience and legendary abilities of survival. As a result it has been featured in the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Poussin, Tiepolo, Flaubert, Kipling and Rose Macaulay, among others. From East to West, Irwin's "Camel" is the first survey of its kind to examine the animal's role in society and history throughout the world. Not just for camel aficionados, this highly illustrated book is sure to entertain and inform anyone interested in this fascinating and exotic animal.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Physiology and Psychology 2 Ancestors of the Camel 3 Practical Camel 4 Camels in the Medieval World of Islam 5 The Beauty of the Beast: Literature and Art 6 The Camel's Role in History 7 Modernity's Camel Timeline of the Camel References Select Bibliography Associations and Websites Acknowledgements Photo Acknowledgements Index

About the Author

Robert Irwin is a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and the Middle East editor of the The Times Literary Supplement. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Reviews

A bold and fascinating series The Independent This series ... calls itself "a new kind of animal history". It is, splendidly, even brilliantly, so. I have nothing but praise for it The Spectator

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