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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The changes and chances in colonial life
This anthology of short stories gives an excellent picture of the works of a Member of the British Empire. Rudyard Kipling had a partisan view on the British colonial enterprise which was based on a well-organized army machine. But, as George Orwell said: he didn't understand that `an empire is primarily a money-making concern'.

Army and war
Those who...
Published on 4 Dec 2009 by Luc REYNAERT

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as detailed as the film
I enjoyed this story, but I feel i must state short story. I watched the film years ago and thought the film was excellent. This story does not go into the same detail as the film so I was a litle disappointed.

Worth reading but not amazing.
Published 8 months ago by Mike1865


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The changes and chances in colonial life, 4 Dec 2009
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This anthology of short stories gives an excellent picture of the works of a Member of the British Empire. Rudyard Kipling had a partisan view on the British colonial enterprise which was based on a well-organized army machine. But, as George Orwell said: he didn't understand that `an empire is primarily a money-making concern'.

Army and war
Those who fight under the British flag are mightily admired and incensed for their courage and self-sacrifice, but woe for those who seek their own kingdom.
In `The Drums of Fore and Aft' two orphans of fourteen years of age (!), who serve as Regiment drummers, are highly praised for offering their lives in a skirmish with Afghan rebels.
In `Only a Subaltern', a new recruit is himself attacked by fever after having physically and morally supported a soldier friend.
But, in `The Man Who Would be King', two solitary fortune seekers fall shamelessly from their throne.

Religion
In the heartrending masterpiece of this collection, `Baa Baa Black Sheep', R. Kipling lambastes the ravages of religion: `the Fear of the Lord was so often the beginning of falsehood ... for when young lips have drunk deep of the bitter waters of Hate, Suspicion and Despair, all the Love in the world will not wholly take away that knowledge.'

Colonial life
In `The Education of Otis Yeere', two would-be prick teasers warm the heart of a bachelor, only to be mightily offended when he tries to give one of them a kiss.
`At the Pit's Month' and `A Wayward Comedy' are variations on the theme of `a Man and his Wife and a Tertium Quid'. Only, the friendship among men stays above the shame of cuckolding.
`Wee Willie Winkie' praises the courage of a young boy.
`A Second Rate Woman' attacks people's prejudice. An allegedly `tainted' lady saves the day when the foul speakers `collapse in an hour of need'.
In `His Majesty the King', a child King is too young to moralize on the deceitfulness of this world and the uncertainty of human things.

Ghost stories
The nightmarish `The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes' and `The Phantom `Rickshaw' are two excellent ghost stories.

A very worth-while read.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Enjoyable, 9 Oct 2010
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a great little novella from the pen of Kipling. This was in fact inspired by a couple of real events and so there is some fact in this tale. Our narrator is a journalist who meets a couple of down and out adventurers on the course of his jorneys. They tell him of there plans.

A few years later one of these adventurers turns up to tell the journalist what they managed to do. With our two adventurers planning to set themselves up in royal form they come to a remote area in Afghansistan. This tale is the story of their exploits and adventures as they plan to make themselves kings.

Not really meant to be at the time, nowadays this can be seen as a satirical allegory of European expansionism and empire building.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magic, 30 Jan 2006
By 
Royale "Mies" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This is the work of a maestro....a true genius of literature. I recently read Kim by Kipling and, having always thought it to be a children's book, was delighted at the sheer quality of writing, its narrative drive, its incredible characters and colour and sense of time and place. The Man Who Would Be King, though occasionally not equalled in some of the other short stories sitting alongside it, is a classic. Anyone who recalls the film version with Michael Caine and Sean Connery, will not be disappointed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite story, 24 Mar 2011
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J.R.Hartley (NW England) - See all my reviews
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The Man Who Would Be King is my favourite film and leaves me with a tear in my eye every single time as Peachy explains to Brother Kipling who he and his friend Danny went off to old Kafiristan to be kings. It's a film I have watched over 20 times and always wanted to read the book. When my beloved bought me a Kindle for my birthday I wasted no time in downloading this brief tale for FREE!

It is somewhat different to the film but much of the films memorable dialogue is lifted word for word from the book - god's holy trousers, have I not put the shadow of my hand over this country, for the sake of the widow's son, etc. Furthermore, Danny Dravot is not quite as sympathetic as Sean Connery portrayed him, Peachy is more of a central figure than Michael Caine made him and Billy Fish is very, very different from the delightful version created by Sayed Jaffrey, but the book is an absolute delight. I read it in two sessions and was so glad I did. Kipling's prose is easy to read and as fresh today as it was when he wrote it when Victoria was on the throne. I loved the film and I love the book. Genuinely magnificent.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic I've never read!, 23 Nov 2010
By 
Daniel Thompson (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
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Wow, thanks Amazon for Kindle on Android (free app!). I have never read any of Kipling's works that I can remember, but as this was free to download to Kindle I thought I'd give it a go, and what a revelation! For start, the way it's written is somewhat old fashioned some may think, but is bang on for the era, and if you just take a moment to get used to the language form at the beginning, it becomes very natural within a few pages. The story is really quite interesting, set in Asia I believe in the latter 19th century, and effectively is the story of two unfortunate colonials who have grand ideas but lack the education to bring them to fruition in conventional ways.

I've really enjoyed reading this, and it really keeps my attention. Having the book on my mobile phone is great because I can open it up whenever I have 5 minutes no matter where I am.

I think I've had this 3 days and am half way through already (though I've been working most of this time!). Can't wait to see how things end up.

If you've never read a classic work then I would really encourage you to do so, and if you've read this as a kid at school, read it again, I promise you won't be disappointed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, 25 Mar 2013
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Who would have guessed that an American from a Quaker town would have been such an effective spy. This is a very worthy read. I am throughly enjoying it although I still have a ways to go...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Tale, 17 Sep 2012
By 
Boing (UK) - See all my reviews
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Okay, I'll be honest right from the start. I didn't download this for the experience of Kipling's literary might, I downloaded it to find out exactly why it's the book that Magneto constantly obsesses over in X-Men. All right? You got me. Happy now?

As others have already said this is a fascinating, albeit mostly fictional, glimpse into the worlds of colonial India, and the Afghan region prior to any seriously significant Western influence. It's also an incisive - if somewhat concise - study in tribal/religious power play.

The language is nowhere near archaic enough to make the text inaccessible to the modern reader, although some words and turns of phrase have dropped out of use. Also I am fairly certain many of the place names mentioned throughout have changed, although this in no way affects one's understanding of the plot.

I finished this in about an hour, so I'd call it a short but worthwhile read. I'd happily recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit different to contemporary styles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars magnificent, 21 Jun 2014
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The wonderful story of two adventurers in a world long gone and a less inspiring place. A must for any traveller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 27 May 2014
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Good shopping experience. Everything was just as I expected. This was a good product. It was also a good delivery.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 6 May 2014
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Really good read, it actually shows what a good representation the film was.
Surprisingly short but a good adventure to read for free.
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The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics)
The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics) by Rudyard Kipling (Paperback - 1 July 1994)
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