Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Three Empires on the Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899” as Want to Read:
Three Empires on the Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  181 Ratings  ·  34 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Three Empires on the Nile, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Three Empires on the Nile

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Al Berry
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid title on the rise of the Mahdi, Gordon's Martyrdom and eventual avenging.
Sajith Kumar
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
After Britain consolidated her colonial stranglehold on India, the trade route linking the two countries assumed strategic importance and had to be protected at any cost. The naval route around the Cape of Good Hope was sufficiently fortified by a series of ports on both coasts of Africa. Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 to find a stable alternate route to India led to a race between Britain and France over the control of Egypt. The digging and opening up of Suez Canal in 1869 under French s ...more
Leo Walsh
"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
Apr 05, 2016 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
Dec 03, 2016 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.
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.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
David Donnelly
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of the British occupation of Egypt and Sudan as they fought late 19th century jihadis.

More comprehensive than single titles focused on Gordon at Khartoum or Omdurman; the gradual creep of,reluctant British imperialism is detailed from the building of the Suez Canal, resulting financial insolvency for Egypt, the drift out of the Turkish Sultan's orbit, Wolsley's failed expedition to rescue Gordon, and the ultimate technological assault of Kitchener on the Mhadi's forces. The early i
Bill Suits
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and amazing audiobook to listen to. I can't recommend enough.
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 03, 2010 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
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe
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.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Grady Hendrix
Sep 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 18, 2012 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
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Raegan Butcher
This was interesting.
I am actually listening to this, as a book on tape more from the reading list for the upcoming Sudan trip
Having read several fairly dry histories recently, I gave up on this one. There was just too much military history for my taste.
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.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had a terrible time getting into this one.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain
  • The Great Mutiny: India 1857
  • Queen Victoria's Little Wars
  • The Scramble for Africa: The White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912
  • The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs
  • The New Threat From Islamic Militancy
  • The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India 1805-1905
  • Khartoum: The Ultimate Imperial Adventure
  • Red Nile: A Biography of the World's Greatest River
  • The White Nile
  • July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914
  • The Spanish Armada
  • The Reason Why: The Story of the Fatal Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain
  • Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900
  • Kipling: A Selection of His Stories and Poems Volume I (1 of 2)
  • The Story of the Malakand Field Force
  • The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century
British writer and musician (b. 1970)

Librarian note:
There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name
More about Dominic Green...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99