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The River War Hardcover – 18 Aug 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: BiblioLife (18 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055431536X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0554315362
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,414,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965) has been called by historians "the man of the twentieth century." Prime Minister of Great Britain (1940-1945), Churchill won the Nobel prize for literature in 1953.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 22 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
My copy of "The River War" is a battered 1960 copy purchased some years ago in a second hand bookshop. It is one of the handful of books that I have read more than twice. It is just so well written.
Bearing in mind that Winston Chruchill was present at the final Battle of Omdurman, he had a ringside seat in this "little war", actually taking part in a cavalry charge.
The book starts with a history of "the Soudan" as he writes it, and the early chapters cover the Gladstone and General Gordon story; essential to a total understanding of the problems in the Sudan at the end of the 19th century.
The bulk of the book covers the campaign by Sir H. Kitchener to push up the Nile with a railway, laid at the rate of a mile a day at times -(British railways eat your heart out). The logistic problems of water for men, camals, horses, and steam locomotives was huge.
Churchill`s turn of phrase is inimitable, and he carries the reader smoothly through all the twists and turns of the heroic story - heroic on both sides.
Some reader may be offended by the non-PC language used, such as "Mohammedan" for a follower of Islam, "savages", "inferior race" "fuzzy-wuzzie" etc, but the reader must remember that these words and phrases were quite acceptable at the time, and I reckon that in using them the author is not being insulting, but simply using the language of his times. This was written in 1902 if I remember correctly.
I suspect that more modern works on the subject are more balanced, and accurate, if only for 102 years of hindsight being available, (and more PC), but I can thouroughly recommend getting this book if you have the slightest interest in the subject. And come to think of it, even if you don`t.
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Format: Paperback
The Prime Classics 2005 edition, published by Wildside Non-fiction, of Churchill's account of the reconquest of the Sudan, is spoiled by the lack of maps and the lack of an index. This fascinating story is told superbly by a master of the English language who participated in the battle of Ondurman. In it Churchill refers the reader to maps, with which the visulisation and understanding of the events would have been greatly enhanced. I found the lack of them frustrating. Additionally, the lack of an index limits the use of this edition as source of reference. I found no description on the Amazon/Waterstones web-site to indicate the lack of these items, which I would expect from any serious historical account. My other readings of Churchill (The Second World War) have led me to expect such would be included by the author.
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Straight from the hand of Churchill has a special meaning. Candid and considerate. He is unhindered by the dishonesty of political correctness. He provides honest appraisal of the attributes of certain people groups. Strangely enough people groups do display idiosyncrasies. This is a refreshing read for a dishonest generation.
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Format: Paperback
A region descending into barbarism, a makeshift army inspired by religious fanaticism, straight from the middle ages, fed by poverty and resentment, shifting across vast ungoverned tracts of sand with no respect for national borders or law, regional powers exerting malign and oppressive influence, colonial powers misunderstanding and exacerbating the situation, the British government dithering, the British public ambivalent about the war and doubting the army's effectiveness in the field, the French causing complications... change the names and you could be in the early twenty-first century, not the late nineteenth. It seems like déjà vu. Of course, the situation is not the same, the world is more complicated now, we can't just send a gunboat to solve the problem. But there are lessons to be learned. Churchill's assessments of the people and events are honest, revealing and compassionate, his horror at the civilian casualties and the butchery of battle are direct and respectful by today's standards. I think that's where the strength of the narrative comes from - respect. For all the prejudices of the age, Churchill shows a healthy respect for the enemy, as well as for his own side. Nowadays, political correctness is so concerned with not offending anyone and with the deification of the victim that it ends up showing respect for no one. For a good read, although long, this book contains some of Churchill's best prose, the battle scenes are vivid and detailed and the descriptions of the desert landscape are powerful, seen through Churchill's painter's eye.
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What a disappointment that this edition does not include the excelent maps in earlier editions. Also the proof reading was less thorough than expected.
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Fabulously written - the today politicians could learn from the brave soldiers of British Empire armies ( in this case British, Egyptions and Sudanese )with their understanding of different people's religions and ways of life. What did not change is that the mad Mahdi was no different to the modern Dervishes of Isis and the muslim fundamentalists today who infiltrated the western world.
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The original maps,that apparently have been omitted, are truly essential .What could have possessed the person who made the decision to omit them?Otherwise brilliant read.
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