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Hardcover Three Empires on the Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899 Book

ISBN: 0743280717

ISBN13: 9780743280716

Three Empires on the Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899

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Book Overview

A secular regime is toppled by Western intervention, but an Islamic backlash turns the liberators into occupiers. Caught between interventionists at home and fundamentalists abroad, a prime minister... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Scramble for Africa

This concise and well-written book brings together strands of history from other books about the same period, and puts all of them into one shorterer publication. Of course, doing that does not give the average reader the depth of information available in one of the other books covering only one subject, but this one does have the advantage of telling the entire story, albeit in more condensed form. This is good for the general reader, and anyone interested in delving more deeply into one of the subjects told in the book would be well advised to search out and read the more inclusive works on a perticular matter. This is excellent entry level material about this period in history in and around the Nile delta.

Amazing (audio book)

This book was one of the best history books I've ever read (I actually listened to it while commuting to NYC and while finishing chores). I have no idea what one of the other reviewers was referring to when they said it was generally hard to follow. I was able to follow it nearly in its entirety even when listening to it as a disjointed audio book. I highly recommend this amazing historical account, that reads as smoothly as even the best historical fiction I've read.

Reads like a novel!

I really enjoyed this book. This is a book about British involvement in Egypt and Sudan between 1869 and 1899. Much of the policies undertaken then by the British parliament echo present day policies in the Middle East. If you are interested in the history of the Middle East, read this book! I most enjoyed the chapters on the Mahdi. According to Islamic traditions, the Mahdi will come to save Muslims from their imminent collapse in society and deliver them from the hands of the unbelievers (the non-Muslims). His name will be Mohammad, like the prophet be peace upon him, and his father will likewise be named Abdullah, like the prophet's father. His appearance will signal the end of days, or the coming of the Day of Judgment. During the Mahdi's lifetime, Jesus Christ will also return to rule the world, according to Islam. It is quite clear that the self-proclaimed Sudanese Mahdi was not the awaited Mahdi Moslems all over the world are waiting for. Yet he was able to save his people from British rule, and successfully retook Khartoum and killed General Gordon after a 300 days siege. Gordon's body was mutilated, and his head severed and taken to the Mahdi. Yet in the process hundreds of thousands of Sudanese died. Was the price worth the freedom from British rule? Interestingly, the Mahdi at first refused to use guns and rifles to fight the British armies, believing that since God was on his side, guns and rifles would be unnecessary. He soon realized though that this was foolishness at its best, not to mention suicide. Another suicidal strategy was to run in masses towards the armed British forces, equipped with rifles and cannons. Thousands of Sudanese died this way, their bodies piled on top of each other. Since any Muslim who dies in Jihad goes straight to Heaven, the Sudanese army was keener of dying in battle and going to Heaven than actually winning the battle. This attitude is clearly shown today in unnecessary terrorist attacks. The Mahdi died quite young, in his early forties and shortly after defeating the British forces. His dreams were of conquering Egypt and then the Gulf states (Middle East), thus cutting the British forces from their Empire in the East (mainly India) and defeating the Ottoman Empire. But right after his death, chaos erupted between the Sudanese and civil war arose between them. The British forces, seeing an opportunity, re-conquered Sudan. The Mahdi's dream was destroyed. Interestingly, during the Sudanese Mahdi's time, another self-proclaimed Mahdi appeared in Libya. However, the Libyan Mahdi did not want anything to do with the Sudanese Mahdi. This demonstrates how religion is used for political ambitions. None of them was the true awaited Mahdi, yet both believed they were. The chapters on General Gordon (Chinese Gordon) and Mr. Gladstone were also very interesting. It is really amazing to read that Gordon was abandoned by the British during the siege of Khartoum. If only the British sent reinforcements to G

Readable recovery of important history

This is a well documented, yet very readable, recitation of British involvement in Sudan and Egpt in the years leading up to WWI, and the reverberations down to the present day. While many are aware of the actions of Kitchener and the hysterical reaction back home in England to Gordon's fate (thank you Charlton Heston), few have a clear view of the deeper objectives and consequent military and economic policies that drove England's actions. This history is a useful reminder of the importance of deeply held worldviews of two cultures riven by much, but especially religion.

Popular history at its very best, and more

Truly good popular history should inform, entertain, and provoke further thought. Green's relatively slim (266 pages) volume does all three far more effectively than many a longer tome from better-known, longer established authors. If, like me, your knowledge of European imperialism in the Middle East, Ottoman decay, the stirrings of both Arab nationalism and Islamist reawakening was pretty much framed by movies such as "Khartoum", "Lawrence of Arabia" and the works of H. Rider Haggard, this volume will make sense of a key era of history mainly perceived in the West as a time of quaintly romantic chaos. Green makes his cast of characters, Gladstone, Gordon, the Madhi, et al come alive in ways I never recall from my collegiate history days, and frames their actions, motivations, and the results of their choices in a coherent way that provides the reader with an excellent intelligence brief, not only on the era described, but on the issues topical to the region today. Green shows with great precision how personality often drives public policy, and illustrates the apparent paradoxes of how liberal, anti-imperialist humanitarian impulses can sometimes create empires of misery, and how elitist conservatism can sometimes create social improvements and upward mobility for the masses. Mr. Gladstone, meet Mr. Carter. Green's discussion of the origins of modern Islamism in the odd stew of Western and Eastern ideas bubbling in the dying Ottoman hinterlands is alone worth the price of admission to this book. Without demonizing nor idealizing the iconic figures of Muhammed Ahmad, Chinese Gordon, Winston Churchhill, or Herbert Kitchener, we get a better understanding of the Mahdist revolt and a glimpse of how yesterday's news headlines drive those of today. A note to George Clooney and other well-heeled would-be humanitarians who hope to stop genocide in Darfur- READ THIS BOOK! In summary, this is excellent book on a little-known subject that the reader will find very entertaining and enlightening, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I look forward to more works by Mr. Green.
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