The Tigris and Euphrates rivers surround a region once known as Mesopotamia, the cradle of ancient civilizations that included Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria. This fascinating book follows both rivers from where they begin in Turkey, travel down through northern Syria and Iraq, and join to form the Shatt al Arab before emptying into the Persian Gulf. Historically, the Tigris and the Euphrates supplied water for farming of the surrounding plain. Today, the region's economy still depends on the rivers for irrigation and electricity, but the building of canals, dikes, and dams is a threat to natural habitats and wildlife. Tension between countries competing for water is also an issue.