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Sanusi's Little War: The Amazing Story of a Forgotten Conflict in the Western Desert, 1915-17 [Hardcover]

Russell McGuirk
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

9 May 2007
This is the exciting story of a forgotten war, fought out on the fringe of the great First World War campaigns. At its centre stands Sayyid Ahmad al-Sharif, the Grand Sanusi, a charismatic Arab leader caught between the rival war aims of the Turco-German alliance and the British Empire. In November 1915 HMS Tara, a requisitioned ferryboat, is torpedoed by a German U-boat off Sollum on the north-west coast of Egypt. The 92 survivors, nearly all Welshmen, are handed over to Turkish and Sanusi soldiers across the border and sent as prisoners of war deep into the Libyan Desert. The Turco-Sanusi Army then overruns Sollum and pushes into Egypt. The British, occupying that country, are caught off guard and forced to launch a military campaign to expel the invaders.Over the next few months, four battles are fought before Sollum is retaken and the threat contained. Finally, the Duke of Westminster leads a large column of Rolls Royce armoured cars and Model T Fords into Libya to rescue the Welshmen. Based on original source material, The Sanusi's Little War tells for the first time the full story of the Turco-Sanusi invasion and the subsequent military campaign. The author describes secret German missions and Turkish efforts to win over the Grand Sanusi. He reveals the fascinating role played in the campaign by British officers, particularly Leo Royle. Most unexpected of all is his discovery that T. E. Lawrence played a role in these events.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Arabian Publishing Ltd (9 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954479270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954479275
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.8 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 827,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"...Russell McGuirk's masterly study of the Sanusi campaign. The author provides the essential historical setting, the details of personalities, places and unfolding events, and the sympathetic understanding that this extraordinary but hitherto disregarded historical episode fully deserves...the author is to be congratulated on his choice of illustrations [and] the informative maps." - John Wright, The Maghreb Review, 2008 "Russell McGuirk provides a new level of detail, based on thorough research of the available sources...[He] tells a grand story well...[This book is] a much welcome addition to the literature of the First World War and its aftermath in the Middle East and North Africa." - Sean Kelly, Libyan Studies, 2007 "The author draws skilfully upon a wealth of primary sources both archival and oral in Arabic, English and German...The excellence of this history...lies in its intricate tapestry of detail concerning the setting and background to the conflict...In short, this is a well-told war story." - Jay Spaulding, Sudan Studies Association Bulletin, Sept. 2007

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read from World War 1 14 Jun 2012
I found this account to be a fascinating insight into political and military events that culminated in a brief conflict that had slipped into oblivion for almost a century. This illuminating study helps us to understand how the redrawing of the world's maps fomented the present ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
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