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

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  149 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
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 sli ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Thomas
Jun 06, 2012 Thomas rated it it was amazing
In keeping with a piece of advice from Ray Bradbury that has been making the rounds, in which he suggests that writers must have a slightly creepy love affair with books, I say emphatically that this week I am creepily in love with books about Sudan.

Today, I am particularly in love with Three Empires On the Nile, a brilliant, dry, inspiring and horrifying account of the colonial hijinx that led to the grotesque mismanagement of both Egypt and Sudan in the last part of the 19th century.

The book t
...more
Leo Walsh
Aug 24, 2016 Leo Walsh rated it it was ok
"Three Empires on the Nile" by Dominic Greem is an narrative history covering north Africa during the late 19th century, an interesting period which saw the British Empire reaching its apex and the Ottoman Empire in decline. Though the focus is in Egypt an Sudan, Dominic Green does a nice job setting the region in context.

"Three Empires" begins with the opening of the Suez Canal, built under French control. It goes on the trace how the canal, which displaced the land-routes, began to shift the
...more
JuliAnna
Jul 15, 2008 JuliAnna rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I was hoping more cultural history and less military history. In addition, it is told from the perspective of the British. The title is really far more interesting than the book turns out to be.
Diane
Dec 03, 2016 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This history tells the story of an Islamist revolt in Sudan, which threatened Egypt, in the late 19th century, and chronicles the British Empire's response. The book is well-written, although a bit dense. It was interesting to engage with a story of someone trying to establish an Islamic state during the Victorian period, but the author didn't draw many contemporary parallels, unfortunately. Still, it was an excellent introduction to this period of East African history.
Randhir
Apr 05, 2016 Randhir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very topical book. Egypt and Sudan in late 19th Century when the Mahdi stormed into the Sudan and challenged the reluctant imperialist ambitions of Great Britain. Excellent personality sketches. The only one who comes out well is Lord Cromer, the de facto ruler of Egypt. Gordon, despite advice, insisted on occupying Khartoum where he was cut off besieged by the Mahdi. the dilly dallying by Gladstone and Gen Wolesley ultimately lead to his doom, which he dealt with with great courage. The venge ...more
Matthew
Mar 19, 2012 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-africa
This book covers the events concerning the events of Egypt and the Sudan in the end of the 19th Century. The “three empires” are those of the Turkish linked Khedive Ishmail of Egypt, the Mahdi, and then Britain. The book does a good job with explaining the Ottoman Turkish backgournd of the events that through Disraeli’s machinations with the Suez Canal lead up to Britain rather than France becoming the primary European power involved with Egypt and the Sudan and does an equally good job with exp ...more
Emmanuel Gustin
Interesting account of the complicated and violent relationship of Egypt, Sudan, Britain and France in the days of imperialism and the "scramble for Africa." By telling a complicated story, it has the merit of showing how interlinked the fate of the Egyptian fellahin could be with the power games of the great powers. And the account of the rise and fall of the Mahdist state in the Sudan is not only fascinating, but remains painfully relevant in our times.

What I disliked about the book is its the
...more
Andrea
Aug 30, 2014 Andrea rated it liked it
This was one of those books that seems to overlap with lots of others I've read (history of the Suez Canal, history of the European exploration of the Nile, history of Sudan etc), but somehow it doesn't manage to add anything new or memorable. I am surprised because I selected the book expecting to get new insights into the characters involved in the origins of modern Egypt and Sudan. However, the author relies on fairly tired standard sources. Worse, there isn't much critical examination of the ...more
Jamie VW
Mar 31, 2012 Jamie VW rated it really liked it
At times great and at times frustratingly wandering off on tangents and reading like a turn of the century colonialist adventure story with its focus on old dead racist white men, this book illuminates the European policies of structurally salting the earth in Egypt and Sudan in the middle of the 19th century. The book is especially fascinating while focusing on the Sudan, torn apart as it still is today by ethnic and religious tensions - with the local populace decimated by imperialist stubborn ...more
Hyperionconsul
Feb 11, 2013 Hyperionconsul rated it it was amazing
Dominic Green has done a fine job in conveying an important, but neglected part of 19th century history. The historical events described in this book still echo in modern day Egypt and Sudan and that's what makes it all the more interesting. At the time, the Khedive of Egypt was borrowing heavily from European banks to modernize Egypt, the Suez canal was built, Arab nationalism rose,a self-proclaimed messiah called the Mahdi took over the Sudan, English abolitionists were pressuring the Egyptian ...more
Lauren Albert
Jul 01, 2010 Lauren Albert rated it liked it
Shelves: history-british
I found the plethora of names confusing even with the (incomplete) list of characters in the front of the book. In addition, the book was made hard to follow because of the ever-shifting allegiances. But it is an interesting story with a strange group of characters. The author could sometimes be funny as when he writes that someone "lowered himself into politics like a fastidious plumber entering a blocked drain, more from duty than desire" and refers to a man as "A politician with a brilliant f ...more
Mohamed
Dec 26, 2013 Mohamed rated it it was amazing
History repeats itself with a scary consistency! The book narrates the second failing attempt to achieve modernity. The author does a marvelous job in connecting history of Egypt, Sudan, and England. Opposite to the standard narratives of Egyptian history, the book expands on the muddled British politics where greed, ethics, and Christianity competed to produce erratic decisions that resulted in occupying Egypt then Sudan. The book gave me an insight into the theological state that Al Mahdi crea ...more
bkwurm
May 03, 2010 bkwurm rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Thought provoking account of how the dominant Western superpower in an effort to "civilise" a barbaric middle Eastern regime, ended up embroiled in a religious war. Of course Great Britain won but only by the application of overwhelmingly superior force with little care for the civilian casualties, a course of action not available today.

It suffers only from the absence of a viewpoint from the Mahdi's side, a flaw for which the author cannot be blamed as apparently no such sources exi
...more
Benjamin
Mar 24, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
A superbly researched and well structured book, I was very impressed by this work. The complexities and character of Victorian politics are presented in an accessible faction without losing any of their weight, as are the complex characters driving the historical drama. The connections to the modern day are well set up without the need for explicit communication and stand out all the stronger for it.
Roderigo
Very interesting spread of history of The Sudan during late 1800's. However the title is a little deceiving as little detail in gone into the actual workings of the Mahdi Empire (maybe there is little primary sources?).
Overall a very easy interesting informative read. Recommend just as one of the first few books related to Sudan & the Mahdi.
For Interests sake,the 3 Empires I gathered where the Madhi, Egypt, Britain and Ottoman. Oh that's four...The Ottomans were touched on little.
Christopher Saunders
Competent account of Britain's entanglements in Egypt and Sudan, specifically Urabi Pasha's uprising and the Mahdist Wars. Green successfully intertwines the components of imperialism, Arab nationalism and Islamic fanaticism together, inviting modern-day comparisons. The book brings little fresh insight to these oft-told events, but it's a decent narrative history.
Del
Jul 24, 2012 Del rated it really liked it
A really interesting story about the British entanglement in Sudan and Egypt, how it blew up in their faces, and who the key personalities were that played a role in the mess. Well told and enjoyable. A part of history that has ramifications to this day, but about which I knew very little before picking up this audiobook. Worth checking out.

Listened to the unabridged audiobook on Audible.com.
Grady Hendrix
Sep 30, 2008 Grady Hendrix rated it really liked it
Research for a piece, but reading about the insane British plans for the Sudan in the 19th century, as well as the raving, foaming-at-the-mouth abolitionist Chinese Gordon makes you cheer on the rampaging mobs of half-naked, poorly armed, homicidal maniacs fighting for Islam as they kill as many of the white man as possible. Both sides got what they deserved, and crocodiles ate the survivors.
Nathan
Jan 18, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Egypt, the Sudan and Britain 1869-1899. Corrupt pashas, the Mahdi. Chinese Gordon et al. Didn't know too much about the place and time before. Know a little more now. Like most histories, not many people come out of this looking very good. Rated PG for some war violence. 3/5
Meredith
Jun 21, 2009 Meredith rated it it was ok
I tried, but couldn't get more than 100 pgs into it. I was hoping for a less dry and more well-rounded telling.
Jared Nuzzolillo
Mar 03, 2011 Jared Nuzzolillo rated it it was amazing
Loved it, no idea why people say that it's dry. Maybe it just hit a sweet spot for me: abolitionists, geopolitics, political islam and the history of jihad.
Sandy
Jul 27, 2010 Sandy added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I am actually listening to this, as a book on tape more from the reading list for the upcoming Sudan trip
Lynne
Jun 30, 2009 Lynne rated it it was ok
Having read several fairly dry histories recently, I gave up on this one. There was just too much military history for my taste.
Johanna
Sep 26, 2008 Johanna rated it liked it
I learned a great deal about the 19th century history of Epypt and the Sudan that is helpful to understanding current politics in the region.
Josh Frost
Jan 25, 2011 Josh Frost rated it liked it
A solid introduction to what happened in Khartoum in the 1860s and how events there made a martyr out of Charles "Chinese" Gordon.
Haripal brar
Haripal brar rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2016
Justin
Justin rated it really liked it
Sep 18, 2007
Wendy
Wendy rated it liked it
Apr 19, 2014
Daniel
Daniel rated it liked it
Jan 16, 2009
Brady Clemens
Brady Clemens rated it it was amazing
Sep 03, 2016
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British writer and musician (b. 1970)
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