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

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  79 ratings  ·  22 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
ebook, 304 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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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
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.
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
Jamie VW
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
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
Jul 25, 2012 AmblingBooks marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, history
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.

Listen to Three Empires on the Ni...more
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
Lauren Albert
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
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
Grady Hendrix
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.
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.
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
Jared Nuzzolillo
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.
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
A solid introduction to what happened in Khartoum in the 1860s and how events there made a martyr out of Charles "Chinese" Gordon.
Having read several fairly dry histories recently, I gave up on this one. There was just too much military history for my taste.
I tried, but couldn't get more than 100 pgs into it. I was hoping for a less dry and more well-rounded telling.
Jul 27, 2010 Sandy is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am actually listening to this, as a book on tape more from the reading list for the upcoming Sudan trip
I definitely learned while listening, but it was kinda (cough, cough) dry.
The content was quite interesting, but it was dry at times.
Had a terrible time getting into this one.
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