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DERVISH: The Rise and Fall of an African Empire Hardcover – June, 2010


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About the Author

Philip Warner (1914-2000) enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals after graduating from St Catharine's, Cambridge in 1939. He fought in Malaya and spent 1,100 days 'as a guest of the Emperor' in Changi and on the Railway of Death, an experience he never discussed. He was a legendary figure to generations of cadets during his thirty years as a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Yet he will arguably be best remembered for his contribution of more than 2,000 obituaries of prominent army figures to The Daily Telegraph. In addition he wrote fifty-four books on all aspects of military history, ranging from castles and battlefields in Britain, to biographies of prominent military figures (such as Kitchener: The Man Behind the Legend; Field Marshall Earl Haig; Horrocks: The General who Led from the Front and Auchinleck: The Lonely Soldier) to major histories of the S.A.S., the Special Boat Services and the Royal Corps of Signals." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword (June 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848841108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848841109
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,765,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on June 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
As the recent conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq show, the West has had to confront Islamic fundamentalism throughout its history. In the 1880s, the Mahdi rose to prominence as the hidden Iman and confronted both British and Egyptian Imperialism in the Sudan. The British Prime Minister withdrew from the region rather than confront the threat. For close to 15 years, most of the Sudan was ruled by the Mahdi and his successor Khalifa. During those years, many atrocities were committed in the Sudan including slavery and cruel punishment for those who didn't believe. When Britain decided to re-engage in the Sudan, it was only because the French were exploring the area. This is the jist of Warner's book.
As one of the previous reviewers has already noted, this book is a Western perspective and so perhaps is the slant on the cause of the Mahdi. The military campaigns were well detailed, but there is too little perspective from the other side. This is the only criticism of this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Buflod on April 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book covers one of the more fascinating events of the 19th century--the rise of the Sudanese Mahdist Empire--solely in the terms of the series of Anglo-Egyptian expeditions to crush it. While one-sided histories aren't always bad, this one just sort of falls flat. There are better sources on the Mahdists and I'd recommend looking over this one unless you are solely interested in the military aspects [the British ones]. The maps were also of little use as they were zoomed out so much that the book's locales are hardly distinguishable--despite them being divided by great distances!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Bromley on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
The book is fairly short and is illustrated with some black and white plates of the Mahdi, Slatin and the young Winston Churchill (slightly blurred) and a few small maps of the area and one or two of the main battles. It largely deals with the rise to power and eventual downfall of the religious and political leader termed the 'Mahdi' in late-19th century Sudan. It focuses particularly on military matters and uses some original sources including the diaries of British army officers involved in the fighting, plus some autobiographies and other writings such as that of Wingate, Slatin and of Fr Ohrwalder, an Austrian missionary captured by the Mahdists and imprisoned in their camp. The descriptions of the conditions and of the various battles are vivid and the author has tried to paint a balanced view, but also gives much detail of the routes followed by the armies and of the tactics employed. I thought that it also had fascinating detail on how the Mahdi became influential and the mistakes made by his adversaries. It is undoubtedly less detailed than some books on the Mahdist era, and the description of the final battle at Omdurman was less of a dramatic climax than I had expected. Overall it is good value for the price and was an interesting read.
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DERVISH: The Rise and Fall of an African Empire
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