Today, as a new Islamic revolution faces a Western response, this classic exploration of fundamentalist Islamic religious leader Muhammad Ahmad (1844-1885) deserves a second look. Ahmad was the self-proclaimed "Mahdi," or end-time redeemer of Islam. In the late 19th century, Ahmad and his armies fought for control of the Sudan which was in the hands of foreign conquerors. Students of the history of the Sudan and of Islam in recent centuries will be fascinated by this 1932 work, which reveals as much about European reaction to aggressive Islamism as it does about one of the great figures of the faith itself. Austrian journalist RICHARD ARNOLD BERMANN (1883-1939) is also the author of Home from the Sea: Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa.
In 1887, German merchant Karl (Charles) Neufeld was captured by the Mahdists and transferred to Omdurman, where he spent twelve years in prison.
This is his gripping account, translated from German into English and first published in 1899, the year of his release by the British Commander-in-Chief Hebert Kitchener. Neufeld retells in vivid detail his capture, torture and imprisonment by the Dervishes, the death of Gordon at Khartoum, and the conquest of the Sudan by the British Army.
An unmissable read.
Richly illustrated with a special picture and map pack.
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 flounders as his ministers betray him, alliances fall apart, and a runaway general makes policy in the field. As the media accuse Western soldiers of barbarity and a region slides into chaos, the armies of God clash on an ancient river and an accidental empire arises.
This is not the Middle East of the early twenty-first century. It is Africa in the late nineteenth century, when the river Nile became the setting for an extraordinary collision between Europeans, Arabs, and Africans. A human and religious drama, the conflict defined the modern relationship between the West and the Islamic world. The story is not only essential for understanding the modern clash of civilizations but is also a gripping, epic, tragic adventure.
Three Empires on the Nile tells of the rise of the first modern Islamic state and its fateful encounter with the British Empire of Queen Victoria. Ever since the self-proclaimed Islamic messiah known as the Mahdi gathered an army in the Sudan and besieged and captured Khartoum under its British overlord Charles Gordon, the dream of a new caliphate has haunted modern Islamists. Today, Shiite insurgents call themselves the Mahdi Army, and Sudan remains one of the great fault lines of battle between Muslims and Christians, blacks and Arabs. The nineteenth-century origins of it all were even more dramatic and strange than today's headlines.
In the hands of Dominic Green, the story of the Nile's three empires is an epic in the tradition of Kipling, the bard of empire, and Winston Churchill, who fought in the final destruction of the Mahdi's army. It is a sweeping and very modern tale of God and globalization, slavers and strategists, missionaries and messianists. A pro-Western regime collapses from its own corruption, a jihad threatens the global economy, a liberation movement degenerates into a tyrannical cult, military intervention goes wrong, and a temporary occupation lasts for decades. In the rise and fall of empires, we see a parable for our own times and a reminder that, while American military involvement in the Islamic world is the beginning of a new era for America, it is only the latest chapter in an older story for the people of the region.
In The River War, Winston Churchill recounts the operations directed by Lord Kitchener of Khartoum on the Upper Nile from 1896 to 1899 that led to England's reconquest of the Egyptian Sudan. Churchill was present at the decisive battle of Omdurman, and he wrote this book while he was still a young cavalry officer.
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