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Dervish: The Rise and Fall of an African Empire Hardcover – 18 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; First printing of this edition edition (18 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848841108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848841109
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,297,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Philip Warner (1914-2000) enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals after graduating from St Catharine's, Cambridge in 1939. He fought in Malaya and spent 1,100 days 'as a guest of the Emperor' in Changi and on the Railway of Death, an experience he never discussed. He was a legendary figure to generations of cadets during his thirty years as a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Yet he will arguably be best remembered for his contribution of more than 2,000 obituaries of prominent army figures to The Daily Telegraph. In addition he wrote fifty-four books on all aspects of military history, ranging from castles and battlefields in Britain, to biographies of prominent military figures (such as Kitchener: The Man Behind the Legend; Field Marshall Earl Haig; Horrocks: The General who Led from the Front and Auchinleck: The Lonely Soldier) to major histories of the S.A.S., the Special Boat Services and the Royal Corps of Signals." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Hardcover
A very readable account with lots of anecdotes. Written originally in the 1970's, it lacks a decent list of sources and suggestions for further reading - it would also have benefited by including far more maps, so the progress of the campaigns could be followed more easily. I suspect that the politics and personalities involved can be reassessed in very different ways. For all that, I found this an informative and enjoyable read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Misspuddleduck on 3 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Worth reading and learning from these experiences. Other purchases that I have made reflect different viewpoints of this battle. Thoroughly enjoyed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Civil War in the Sudan in the 1880s and 1890s. 16 Jun. 2005
By Kevin M Quigg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As the recent conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq show, the West has had to confront Islamic fundamentalism throughout its history. In the 1880s, the Mahdi rose to prominence as the hidden Iman and confronted both British and Egyptian Imperialism in the Sudan. The British Prime Minister withdrew from the region rather than confront the threat. For close to 15 years, most of the Sudan was ruled by the Mahdi and his successor Khalifa. During those years, many atrocities were committed in the Sudan including slavery and cruel punishment for those who didn't believe. When Britain decided to re-engage in the Sudan, it was only because the French were exploring the area. This is the jist of Warner's book.
As one of the previous reviewers has already noted, this book is a Western perspective and so perhaps is the slant on the cause of the Mahdi. The military campaigns were well detailed, but there is too little perspective from the other side. This is the only criticism of this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Could Have Been Better 26 April 2005
By John Buflod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book covers one of the more fascinating events of the 19th century--the rise of the Sudanese Mahdist Empire--solely in the terms of the series of Anglo-Egyptian expeditions to crush it. While one-sided histories aren't always bad, this one just sort of falls flat. There are better sources on the Mahdists and I'd recommend looking over this one unless you are solely interested in the military aspects [the British ones]. The maps were also of little use as they were zoomed out so much that the book's locales are hardly distinguishable--despite them being divided by great distances!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Military History of the 19th Century Mahdists in the Sudan 12 July 2006
By David Bromley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book is fairly short and is illustrated with some black and white plates of the Mahdi, Slatin and the young Winston Churchill (slightly blurred) and a few small maps of the area and one or two of the main battles. It largely deals with the rise to power and eventual downfall of the religious and political leader termed the 'Mahdi' in late-19th century Sudan. It focuses particularly on military matters and uses some original sources including the diaries of British army officers involved in the fighting, plus some autobiographies and other writings such as that of Wingate, Slatin and of Fr Ohrwalder, an Austrian missionary captured by the Mahdists and imprisoned in their camp. The descriptions of the conditions and of the various battles are vivid and the author has tried to paint a balanced view, but also gives much detail of the routes followed by the armies and of the tactics employed. I thought that it also had fascinating detail on how the Mahdi became influential and the mistakes made by his adversaries. It is undoubtedly less detailed than some books on the Mahdist era, and the description of the final battle at Omdurman was less of a dramatic climax than I had expected. Overall it is good value for the price and was an interesting read.
This book is an excellent small history and reference book on the loss and ... 2 Dec. 2014
By Matthew J. Brennan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Notable among British colonial defeats in the 19th Century were the disastrous retreat in Afghanistan in 1842, Isandlwana in Zululand in 1879, and a string of defeats by the Mahdi's army of Dervishes in the Sudan during the 1880s. This book is an excellent small history and reference book on the loss and reconquest of the Sudan. Worth having in your library.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Interesting subject by bad writer 16 July 2008
By nickro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First off I am not a book critic. My immediate observations about this book are that it is;
poorly written, disjointed, rambling, with a smattering of incoherent sentence structures that leaves you wondering just what he is talking about
. At times a jolly good read if you could deduce where they are and how they got there at any given time. What date it is anyway! What came first? Did, this chap die 20 pages ago or not? Most of the places mentioned are not on the map. (You will need a magnifying glass to read it) There is scant little development on the main participants and too much information on minor officers and men who die at a particular battle but have never been mentioned at all before.
There may be some good history here but you will need to keep a scorecard ready to follow any chronological order. It seems clear that a good ( OBJECTIVE) book on this subject could not be accomplished in less then 700 pages.
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