My Books

HARDBACK AND PAPERBACK BOOKS

CHITRAL 1895: AN EPISODE OF THE GREAT GAME

In 1895, a small Indian Army garrison, commanded by Surgeon-Major Sir George Scott Robertson and Captain Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend, was besieged by a joint Chitrali and Pathan army – under the leadership of Sher Afzul and Umra Khan – at the fort of Chitral. Despite the odds heavily stacked against them, Robertson’s beleaguered little garrison held out for forty-eight days until a relief expedition was able to fight its way through to the rescue. The siege and subsequent relief is a story of valour – including an award of the Victoria Cross – and sheer determination in the face of a stubborn adversary and sometimes extreme weather conditions, all played out on the often mountainous terrain of the north-western border of British India.

Robertson described events in Chitral as a ‘minor siege’. However, the siege and subsequent relief should be viewed as an important episode in Britain’s ‘Great Game’ with Russia, which would have serious consequences for the British several years later. Indeed, the retention of Chitral by the Indian Government would be a contributing factor to the mass uprisings along the North West Frontier of India during late 1897. In reality, it was anything but a minor siege.

Publication Date: July 2017
Format:
Hardback (224 pages)
Published By:
Fonthill Media


THE SIRDAR AND THE KHALIFA: KITCHENER’S RECONQUEST OF SUDAN 1896-98

Perhaps one of the most dramatic events of the late Victorian period was the death of General Charles ‘Chinese’ Gordon at the hands of the Mahdi’s fanatical warriors as they finally broke their way into the Sudanese city of Khartoum. The story is well known, recounted in numerous books and celebrated in the film ‘Khartoum’ starring Charlton Heston. However, what is perhaps less well known is the subsequent-and far more successful-campaign fought by the British against the Mahdi’s successor, the Khalifa, by General Kitchener, the Sirdar of the Egyptian Army, over a decade later. ‘The Sirdar and the Khalifa’ examines Kitchener’s belated campaign to re-conquer the Sudan and avenge the death of General Gordon: a war that began in 1896 and ended less than two years later with the epic Battle of Omdurman. The true story of the Omdurman campaign is a classic tale of British soldiers battling a fanatical Dervish enemy in the harsh terrain of the desert. It is also the campaign that made Kitchener a household name, one that would last to this very day.

Publication Date: May 2017
Format: Hardback (272 pages)
Published By: Fonthill Media


PATHAN RISING: JIHAD ON THE NORTH WEST FRONTIER OF INDIA 1897-1898

Pathan Rising tells the story of the large-scale tribal unrest that erupted along the North West Frontier of India in the late 1890s; a short but sharp period of violence that was initiated by the Pathan tribesmen against the British. Although the exact causes of the unrest remain unclear, it was likely the result of tribal resentment towards the establishment of the Durand Line and British ‘forward policy’, during the last echoes of the ‘Great Game’, that led the proud tribesmen to take up arms on an unprecedented scale. This resentment was brought to boiling point by a number of fanatical religious leaders, such as the Mad Fakir and the Hadda Mullah, who visited the various Pathan tribes calling for jihad. By the time the risings ended, eleven Victoria Crosses would be awarded to British troops, which hints at the ferocity and level of bitterness of the fighting. Indeed, although not eligible for the VC in 1897, many Indian soldiers would also receive high-level decorations in recognition of their bravery. It would be one of the greatest challenges to British authority in Asia during the Victorian era.

Publication Date: December 2016
Format: Hardback (272 pages)
Published By: Fonthill Media


AN ILLUSTRATED INTRODUCTION TO THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO

On 18 June 1815 some 200,000 men fought in what would be the most important land battle Europe had ever seen, the Battle of Waterloo. It was not the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars, nor would it actually be the last, but it ultimately brought to an end almost a quarter of a century of virtually uninterrupted conflict. The result of the battle, which the Duke of Wellington would later describe as a ‘near-run thing’, changed the course of history, and Europe – indeed much of the world – would never be the same again. An Illustrated Introduction to the Battle of Waterloo tells the dramatic story of the battle, from Napoleon’s escape from exile on Elba to the final desperate attempt of the Imperial Guard to turn the tide against the Allies. A truly fascinating battle, in an equally fascinating period of history, is explored in full colour.

Publication Date: May 2015
Format: Paperback and Kindle (96 pages)
Published By: Amberley Publishing


‘A BRIEF HISTORY OF’ EBOOK SERIES

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PENINSULAR WAR 1808-1814

The Peninsular War, fought in Portugal, Spain and southern France between 1808 and 1814, was perhaps Britain’s most significant contribution to the fighting on land during the Napoleonic Wars. The conflict also saw Arthur Wellesley, who Napoleon would later deride as the ‘sepoy general’, make his name as one of Britain’s leading field commanders and become the Duke of Wellington. However, although often seen as largely a British struggle against the French, it should be remembered that both the Portuguese and Spanish played an equally important part in the eventual defeat of the emperor’s troops on the Iberian Peninsula.

A Brief History of the Peninsular War examines the complex origins of the conflict before considering the key phases of the war, including: Wellesley’s first expedition; Moore’s failed campaign; the return of Wellesley and his campaign in Portugal; the war as it happened in Spain; and the climatic invasion of southern France. Although Napoleon’s first defeat in 1814 was arguably a result of fighting elsewhere in Europe, the Peninsular War, in the form of both major battles and the relentless guerrilla tactics of the Spanish, acted as an immense drain on the French Grande Armée. It truly was Napoleon’s ‘Spanish Ulcer’.

Publication Date: September 2015
Format: Kindle (86 pages)
Published By: Mark Simner