Khartoum: The Ultimate Imperial Adventure Paperback – 2 Nov 2006
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'A staggering achievement. Asher has delivered a scintillating tale of a period of history that deserves to be remembered' -- Guardian
'It is hard to see how this bloody conflict could be more conclusively and convincingly told' -- Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times
'This is the most complete picture of the Sudanese campaigns that has yet been published . . . a vigorous and engrossing narrative' -- Philip Ziegler, Telegraph
About the Author
Michael Asher has served in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has won the Ness Award of the Royal Geographical Society and the Mungo Park Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for Exploration. All four of his Death or Glory novels are available from Penguin in paperback and ebook.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
When Wolseley's Camel-Corps marches across the desert to do battle with the dervishes, you can almost taste the dust and smell the camels. His description of the incredible clash between the British soldiers and the Mahdi's forces at Abu Klea was so moving, with amazing courage on both sides, that I read it with tears in my eyes.
Asher has his heroes - Kitchener, who spoke fluent Arabic and Turkish, who started life as an Intelligence Officer spying behind enemy lines disguised as an Arab, and who became Sirdar of the Egyptian Army; Gordon, a mystic masquerading as a soldier, who followed his inner convictions rather than his orders; Sir Evelyn Baring, an honest man who was genuinely trying to get a better deal for the Egyptian peasants; Winston Churchill, the cheeky cavalry subaltern who took part in the last regimental cavalry charge ever made. He also has his villains: the brave but incompetent Burnaby, the inefficient Buller, the society navy officer Beresford, obsessed with his Gardner machine-gun. But Asher's true heroes are the ordinary soldiers on both sides whose guts and dogged determination seem, in retrospect, almost unbelievable.
This is a stunning story, told with the panache and detail of an epic novel, but all the better for being true. Read it!
Asher has a slightly unusual (but convincingly argued) take on many of the personalities of the story, especially senior British military figures. For instance, he is very critical of Fred Burnaby and Redvers Buller but has a high opinion of Charles Wilson who was made the scapegoat for the failure to break the siege of Khartoum. Again this is an example of Asher's own professional experience allowing him to sidestep the contemporary prejudice for and against these men - Asher served in both the Paras and the SAS and clearly has little time for the amateurish, if colourful, attitudes of many Victorian officers.
Written in a gripping style and about as complete an account as you could hope to find Khartoum cannot be recommended too highly for readers interested in 19th Century history.
It was good to read a book where Gordon is held as an example and a hero rather than a delusional drunkard. It has become popular to attack the image of Gordon, who in all fairness was thoroughly stuffed by his own side from the start.
Asher also defends Wilson quite strongly saying he was unfairly held accountable for Wolsey's failings. Asher also provides a good account on the 'who was to blame' question.
All in all a great read with some terrific battle descriptions.
Now, the book itself is both entertaining and informative and covers all 3 angles, sudanese, turco-egyptian and british.The way the author goes from the easy mahdist victory over Hicks's terrified egyptians at shaykan , to the slaughter of omdurman , via the charles gordon saga, makes this my book of the year.
particular praise to the author for his accurate depiction of the whole 'Billy Hicks' episode and the weaknesses of egypt's soldiers without british help.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good book explaining an important part of British history.
The sad part is the differences between people
of different cultures are still with today.
it's a well thought book, and its a rich source info into the events.Published 16 months ago by Juan David
Best book on the subject I have come across. What some people used to do !!!Published 18 months ago by R. G. HUNT