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The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,199 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
"The Man Who Would be King and Other Stories" is a classic collection of some of the most loved short stories of Rudyard Kipling. Contained here in this volume are the following short stories: The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes; The Phantom 'Rickshaw; Gemini; A Wayside Comedy; At Twenty-Two; The Education of Otis Yeere; The Hill of Illusion; Dray Wara Yow Dee; The ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by (first published 1888)
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Feb 15, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: old school adventure fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: a final go at loving kipling which paid off
I have a weird relationship with Rudyard Kipling (and not in any kind of creepy, bothering-the-dead kind of way thank you). He wrote extensively on subjects, times and places which I find fascinating. It therefore stands to reason that I should love and be totally absorbed by his prolific literary output in all its formats. Frankly, I'm not. Kim? Zzzzz, that one nearly put me to sleep standing. The Jungle Book? Strike me down for saying this but I'm giving a thumbs up to the Disney version. I ...more
Jason Koivu
Jun 19, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Fantastical stories and powerful imagery. Sure, technological advances have numbed us to the violence of war, but Kipling's writing loses little of its punch due to the passing time. The adventurous spirit imbued in his work still thrills the soul with its wanderlust, even its foolhardy daring. The images of death and dying, so sudden and stark, are horrific even today. One can only imagine the impact they made on the populous back home in an age when photographs were in their infancy.
Jun 14, 2016 Cherie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-audio
The best thing I can say is that I finished. I listened to the audio book several times and I read almost all of them over and I still couldn't tell anyone what some of them were about. A few were simply unfathomable to me. Several were very exciting, but strange. My goal was to get through the title story to see the movie. I didn't want the movie to tell me what Kipling wrote. How pathetic was that? I read every word and all the mumbo-jumbo too. Moving on...

I hope Kim is better. I really want t
Jun 22, 2012 Elliott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you didn't already know: Kipling's unwavering belief in the innate superiority of the White Man (especially the Englishman) over the indigenous populations of the British Empire and the view that the English presence is an unequivocal Good is ever present in his work, and colors (is that racist?) the five short stories in this volume to greater and lesser degrees.

I found nothing particularly thrilling about the psychological thriller, "The Phantom 'Rickshaw," and, moreover, it is only superfi
Dec 20, 2010 Chloe rated it liked it
Shelves: modern
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A peculiarly mixed collection of stories (it's a collection of three smaller collections, each originally with a general theme of its own). This represents almost the beginning of Kipling's career - having returned to his homeland in India at the age of 16 after an abusive childhood, he became a newspaperman, and eventually started writing short stories for his papers, before publishing them in collections.

In 1888, Kipling published eighty short stories in book form, of which a few dozen had pre
Mar 14, 2012 Dfordoom rated it it was amazing
Rudyard Kipling might be deeply unfashionable these days but I have a weakness for unfashionable writers. He was something that is almost unimaginable these days - an enormously popular writer who also won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He’s also the sort of writer the PC Thought Police would like to stop us from reading.

Kipling was one of the grand masters of the art of the short story and The Man Who Would Be King and other stories gives us five splendid examples.

I’ve been meaning to get rou
Jay Fromkin
Apr 06, 2011 Jay Fromkin rated it really liked it
A brief, punchy story that John Huston made into a wonderful film with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. Huston and Gladys Hill kept to the outline of Kipling's story (the story is actually an outline itself), and fleshed out the characters unforgettably. This is really Peachy Carnahan's story, and his telling of his and Daniel Dravot's adventures in Kafiristan (northeast Afghanistan)is heartbreaking, despite the con artists' hubris and stupidity. I suppose this is a microcosm of the British ...more
Aug 08, 2015 Jason rated it liked it
Some nice short stories here, the title story and The Drums of the Fore and Aft i particularity enjoyed. Always interesting reading stories from different eras and opinions,
Four stars for the title story alone; the rest are so-so Kipling also-rans. But what a title story -- and an even better film! Sean Connery, Michael Caine AND Christopher Plummer!!
I downloaded the title story as well as two others in this Dover edition from Project Gutenberg -- the first things I read on my new Barnes & Noble Nook e-Reader. Thought I'd try some short stories while getting the hang of using my new device.

It had been years since I had seen the Michael Caine/Sean Connery movie, but I still found that I remembered quite a bit of it. Part of the challenge in reading "The Man Who Would Be King" was to not let my memories of the movie overshadow the tale al
Blablabla Aleatório
Mar 29, 2014 Blablabla Aleatório rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nubia
Filho de ingleses recém-chegados ao continente asiático, Joseph Rudyard Kipling nasceu em Bombaim, Índia, em 30 de dezembro de 1865. Logo, o garoto foi mandado à Inglaterra para estudar e voltou à Índia em 1882 para trabalhar em um jornal local. Trabalho este que lhe propiciou observar o cotidiano da vida na Índia, juntando assim um material bruto que foi primordial para que a vida de contista tivesse início. Em 1907, ele foi o primeiro autor inglês a ganhar o Prêmio Nobel de Literatura. Quando ...more
Bri Fidelity
The usual Kipling cake-mix of racism, classism, sexism, jingoism and Attempted Dialect loses this one half a star, but on the whole it's a pretty strong collection - certainly better than I'd been expecting, given that the last collection of his that I read was all anthropomorphised ship parts and talking polo ponies and whimsical conversations between cats and waterwheels. The good ones even remind me of Saki.

In addition to the famous title track, this edition - a cheap-as-a-shot, ironically-In
Aug 14, 2007 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latevictorian
Here be dragons, in the titular story of this collection, where even the lowest of English drifters can rule a less advanced people and become gods to them, if only for a short while. Far from being priggish or patronizing, however, this story is redeemed by its layers and sophistication, and yet is no less entertaining because of its complexity. At the centre is a rags to riches to rags story with a colonial twist, as two resourceful tramps in British India travel to mountainous, inhospitable ...more
Feb 21, 2011 Bex rated it liked it
On paper, the collection is the kind of thing I should really love: the women and children are the heroes, and the men, mostly, are fairly useless. However, and for no reason I can work out, it just didn't grab my attention like a lot of the things I've been reading lately have. While reading it, I could see all of its' literary merit, and that it was very well written and structured. I think that maybe I just didn't relate to it too well. Having said that, the stories that I enjoyed the most ...more
Patty Marvel
Jun 11, 2012 Patty Marvel rated it really liked it
What I listened to* was a collection of three short stories and two poems, so I'll discuss and rate them individually.

"The Man Who Would Be King" (story) - You would think two clever con men could make themselves ruler of people they think themselves superior to. You would be wrong. If you've read H.G. Wells' "The Country of the Blind," you'll have and idea how and why this went very wrong. Five stars out of five.

"Danny Deever" (poem)- Soldiers are forced to watch one of their own put to death.
Peter Dunn
May 04, 2015 Peter Dunn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have reading a lot of Kipling short story collections lately. Yes there is some jarring anti-semitism and “white man’s burden” material which can’t be set aside (even allowing for the time), but neither should we set aside the fact this man wrote some of the finest short stories in the English language that still enthral readers over a century later.

I had put off reading this collection, and consumed a few other collections of his stories first, as I thought I would be skewed and polluted by
Lukas Evan
The general public's knowledge of Kipling can probably be reduced to the Disney version of "The Jungle Book" and his unfortunate "White Man's Burden" poem, which has marred his reputation. He was, perhaps, the poet of British Empire, but it's not as if his views were at all abnormal at the time. That's not to justify his attitude towards imperialism and other races, but simply to put it in context. And he was the first English writer to win the Nobel, so he can't be totally written off. Anyway, ...more
Sep 12, 2013 Mpj rated it really liked it
همانطور که از اسمِ داستان پیداست، مردیست که دلش میخواهد، به هر قیمتی شده، سلطنت و امپراتوری ناحیهای هر چند پرت(!) را تصاحب کند. در ابتدا با شخصیت های داستان آشنا میشنویم؛ فردی مَشنگ، به همراه دوست و همراهش، در برابر روایِ داستان که فردی ظاهرا معقول و میانهرو است. به تدریج داستان پیش میرود و موضوعِ ایجاد امپراتوری به طور بسیار جدی توسط شخصیت به ظاهر مشنگِ داستان پیگیری میشود!
نمیدانم تصورم از داستان درست بوده یا نه؟! ولی حسّ شوخطبعیِ راوی و امپراتورِ بالقوه(!) در داستان به طرز خوبی نفوذ کرده بود.
Mar 31, 2011 Raj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this collection of short stories by Kipling, although they do have a lot of the chest-puffing Empire stuff that people often think about when they think of Kipling, which has mostly been missing from other works of his that I've read. These stories are all set in or around India and the first half all seem to revolve around love, infidelity and boredom in Simla, the summer capital of the Raj. That said, there are some crackers in the collection, from the title story of two men who try ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Stacey rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, fiction
This is my first time reading anything short stories by Kipling. I find this collection of life in last 19th century India and the Brits living there. The footnotes gave me background info about that time and place was informative. There were a couple stories that I had a hard time following because some of the characters spoke in a dialect that I'm not familiar with. In this analogy, I love "Baa Baa, Black Sheep." Kipling's childhood had some painful moments but he experienced some good stuff. ...more
Jul 07, 2015 Wayne marked it as to-be-reviewed  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wayne by: Kipling's reputation and his Nobel Prize Reputation.
My 1994 Wordsworth edition contained 14 stories.
Stories of such variation for this reader and consequently
such variation in my reactions too, spanning the 5 star spectrum plus!!!
Perhaps some notes from the publisher would have been enlightening, especially for the stories set in India. Perhaps some of the Indian words and customs of the British in India were common knowledge. But too often I was left hanging.Perhaps some of these stories have dated and receive limited understanding now.Others h
Feb 26, 2011 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm told that Kipling is out of fashion these days, but he was, and is, something else. Standing for and writing about a bygone age, his heart was always with the working class English foot soldiers of the Raj, and this short story allows two of them to follow an odd path to a near obscure glory in the wilds of Afghanistan. This was made into a cracking film with Sean Connery and Michael Caine, which filled in a lot of the colour that this book misses out in its brevity. The story is a good one ...more
Lee Ann
Sep 01, 2014 Lee Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I had the read the title story for class. It was pretty interesting, I suppose. But even with the explanatory notes, there were still many words and references I didn't understand. That's no fault of Kipling's, of course, but my own (and perhaps my professor's for not explaining some things beforehand...?). I liked the single unnamed female character who bit at Dravot's neck when he tried to force her to marry him. ;) Heh heh. Girl power.

Anyway, I don't think we have to read the rest of the stor
Rania M.
Jan 06, 2016 Rania M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[4.5 stars]
I have only read the title story, "The Man Who Would Be King", and what a an amazing story that was. The whole setting and adventure were fascinating, I was intrigued by the countries where the action took place: the oriental and exotic feeling of the scenery conveyed masterly by Kipling in such a short novella grabbed me and immersed me in the atmosphee of the exploit. I have always loved adventure books and this particular one, although compact, has definitely become one of my favor
May 14, 2015 Frederik rated it it was ok
Les britanniques ont perdu un empire. Peut-être ils perdront l’Ecosse un jour. Ils ne sont désormais qu’une puissance moyenne. Mais la littérature reste. Cependant le style de Kipling appartient á une autre époque et on le sent. Trop. Et on se pose la question, vaut ce littérature encore le statut de classique ? En lisant Kipling et sa mentalité de "White Man’s Burden", ses histoires sont bizarrement anachroniques, effaçables datant d’une époque qui vaut mieux d’être oubliée. Comme l’empire ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Some of the stories in here were amazing (e.g. The Phantom Rickshaw), but others I found a little... I hate to say it... boring. I remember his children's stories being a little more vibrant than some of the ones in here, so I was a little disappointed that not every story enthralled me as books like the Just So Stories did... And I hate to say it, but I think The Man Who Would Be King is perhaps the only case ever where I have preferred the movie to the book. I shall continue to read more of ...more
Jul 03, 2016 Sophie rated it really liked it
I did admittedly only read 'The Man Who Would Be King' but that story was certainly very good. Will possibly read more Kipling in the future based on this story.


I found out that I had to read a few more stories from the collection and I enjoyed one so much I almost chose it for my dissertation. Also, having reread the first story, I grew to enjoy it more.

Was quite fascinating to see India from Kipling's perspective, rather than see him as the guy who wrote The Jungle Book, an amazing Disne
Oct 08, 2008 Tawny rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Favorite lines:
1. "There are only two kinds of men, Sar--the alive and the dead. When you are dead you are dead, but when you are alive you live."
2. "Heatherlegh is the dearest doctor that ever was, and his invariable prescription to all his patients is, 'Lie low, go slow, and keep cool.'"
3. "It will fall as it will fall. To-morrow we do not know, but to-day and love we know well."
4. "Holden went to his bungalow and began to understand that he was not alone in the world, and also that he was afr
Apr 18, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dover-classics
I did not expect to like these stories by the poet of the British Empire. What I enjoyed most was the background to all the stories. The Phantom Rickshaw was a bit of a scary story. Not horror but psychologically scary.

Wee Willie Winkie -- I have heard the name all my life but never knew the reference. The story of a brave little mascot and love. Well worth the read.

Without Benefit of Clergy is a good love story and story of caste.

A good read.
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Is the version of The Man Who Would be King in this book abridged? 1 6 Feb 19, 2013 12:56PM  
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Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist.

Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888). His poems include "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919), "The White Man's Burden" (1899), and "If—" (1910). He is regarded as
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