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Kitchener: "Road to Omdurman" AND "Savior of the Realm" [Kindle Edition]

John Pollock
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This enlightening biography, drawing on both official accounts and private letters, re-establishes Kitchener's reputation as a hero of the British Empire.

When the Great War broke out, Kitchener, with the foresight lacking in many of his contemporaries, insisted that it would last at least three years and that he must raise an army of 3 million men. This began with an immediate recruitment of 100,000 volunteers, and the familiar poster campaign image of him with the line "Your country needs you".

Major battles and initiatives of the Great War are recreated in a dramatic narrative history which does justice to Kitchener's masterly planning. This superb double volume biography will transform our view of Kitchener and the First World War.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7689 KB
  • Print Length: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (19 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ET3NGWI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #241,934 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A blockbuster on a blockbuster. 17 Feb. 2002
Format:Paperback
This is how a biography should be. Plenty of meat and gravy, well-researched and infinitely detailed, this valuable book brings to life one of the most amazing characters of the Victorian age. Pollock is very sympathetic to his character and brings out all his strengths as well as his flaws. I was particularly impressed with his treatment of Kitchener as War Minister although I would not go as far as regarding him as the 'architect of victory'. There are some weaknesses with his literary style, but his subject comes through strong and clear, and this compensates to a certain extent. Having just finished it for the first time, I am about to embark on another journey into this extraordinary Victorian personality.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five star general, four star book 4 Nov. 2002
Format:Paperback
...This single volume biography comprises The Road to Omdurman and Saviour of the Nation. It is a thoroughly researched work of almost 500 pages, with over fifty pages of endnotes, and it gives a comprehensive picture of Kitchener’s life. It is most professional in its composition and its editing, hardly a misprint or vague pronoun reference to be found. Yet it doesn’t seem destined to take its place among the world’s great biographies.
Part of the book’s problem is that the reader never really comes to know Kitchener, and one suspects that Pollock did not either. In one way this may be a reflection of the remote man Kitchener was, though Pollock sympathetically explains how a naturally shy disposition, complicated by a cast in one eye, could lead to an exaggerated perception of remoteness. Kitchener was, of course, a man of his time, when the stiff upper lip was the mark of a true gentleman, especially an English one. He also destroyed much of his correspondence, casting obstacles in the way of any biographer.
Given such obstacles, and within certain other limits, Pollock does a good job in showing the humanity of Kitchener, the mutual attraction between him and children, and the enormous affection, as well as admiration, in which so many people held him. He reveals a surprising, if irregular, capacity for emotion in his subject, and even wit, as when Kitchener scathingly praises the courage of his political colleagues in declaring war against the greatest military power on earth without an army—the creation of which, of course, was his own most important contribution to world history. Coming toward the end of the book, even a sceptical reader cannot but be affected by the fate impending.
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Format:Paperback
This is one of the best biograophies I have read for a while - perhaps it is not as detailed as some might require (its treatment of particular incidents in Kitchener's life such as the Omdurman campaign, the Boer War and his time as Secretary of State for War is not extensive) but it paints a very good picture of the man behind the well known World War One poster in a way that is eminently readable and with some sympathy for the period.

Too often (influenced perhaps by other historians who have a wider agenda) we see characters from our Victorian and Edwardian era as cold, pompous hypocrites wrapped in a life a privilege. We forget that many of these individuals had (in their younger days) experienced great danger and had shown great courage. Kitchener was one such man - by the time he was 35 he had served extensively in the Army in the Middle East in many cases alone and isolated and travelling under disguise. He makes our modern 'hero' of the football pitch and celebrity magazines look very weak indeed. And yet behind his 'cold' persona and his stern visage is a man who enjoyed the company of children, collected pottery and took pride in decorating his home.

The author deserves our thanks for his portrait of one of the giants of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

I frequently spend my holidays in the far North of Scotland and sometimes I get the ferry to the Orkneys for the day. There have been more than a few occassions when I have walked along the clifs to the Kitchener Memorial which looks out to the grey water where HMS Hampshire was mined and sank and Kitchener was lost. Next time I look across that cold grey sea it will be a litle more poignant given that I know a little more about the man who was lost on board 'Hampshire' when she went down in that wild night in 1916.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Giving substance to the icon 23 Sept. 2013
By Mike Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
THE poster, "Your country needs YOU" is probably as much as most people know of Kitchener. Anyone with an interest in the period will know more than that, but this biography throws a great deal of light into dark corners. Kitchener is a difficult subject. He was, by all accounts, a very shy and private man; he destroyed the bulk of the correspondence he received. Finding the man behind the giant persona, and he was a giant persona in his time, is therefore difficult. Making a biography of him read more than "He did this, he did that" is not easy, but Pollock does an excellent job of throwing light on the man that Kitchener was, as well as the deeds that he did.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars KITCHENER- Great Book 27 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just finished the book and really enjoyed it. All I knew about Kitchener before I started was he was at Omdurman, was War Minister at the start of WW1, put his face on a poster and drowned in a boat, however what a man and what a life.

He had such foresight and leadership skills that he could rally all his troops and eventually the country to victory in the War. If it wasn't for his planning and advice it's very likely we would have lost. He drowned a month before the Somme, and its possible he may have advised against it. In 1914 he was saying the war would last 3 years and recruited vast armies without conscription. With his death conscription came in, Asquith ell and Lloyd George became Prime Minister.

A lot is written about Lloyd George being a good war Prime Minister, but he didn't have a good relationship with Kitchener, and this book throws some doubts as to whether he would have made it to the top job if he had lived.

Were we really missed him was at the peace negotiations at Versaille. He said right from the beginning there must be an honourable peace with no land grabs, otherwise you'll be building up to the next war. How right he was. The lives that would have been saved if they had followed his advice and what a different history in the 20th century.

A really good read for those interested in military history and politics at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th Century.

Dave Bethom
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