16 May 2017

OUT NOW | The Sirdar and the Khalifa: Kitchener’s Reconquest of Sudan 1896-98 by Mark Simner

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.

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