The Dervish Wars: Gordon and Kitchener in the Sudan, 1880-98 by Robin Neillands
This is the story of one of the last colonial campaigns fought by the Victorian army. Between 1880 and 1898, in the barren wastes of the Sudan, small professional British armies confronted overwhelming numbers of Sudanese who were armed only with sword and spear and great courage. Despite this, the "Fuzzy-Wuzzy" warriors, followers of the Muslim leader known as the Mahdi, proved formidable opponents. In a score of bloody encounters, they twice performed the unheard-of feat of breaking a British square. This is also the story of an imperial entanglement which led inexorably to the dramatic death of General Gordon at Khatroum and years of British involvement in the wars and problems of the Sudan. A decade later, General Kitchener came to avenge Gordon and reconquer the Sudan. Most of the great fighting men of the age came to the Dervish Wars: Garnett Wolsey, Frederick Burnaby, Redvers Buller all fought the Fuzzy Wuzzies in such legendary battles as Abu Klea, the Atbara and Omdurman. Behind the fighting action stands the British Prime Minister, Gladstone, blamed for Gordon's death and torn between Queen Victoria's demands and his own liberal beliefs. And, making his debut on the world stage, the young Winston Churchill, charging with the 21st Lancers in a Dervish ambush at Omdurman. This is a tale which conveys the ruthlessness, glory, gallantry, endurance and desperation of war, peopled by some of the most colourful and complex of characters. It is illustrated with some of the earliest action photographs of warfare.