By Michael Barthorp
Superbly illustrated from the paintings of pioneer battle photographers, it is a marvellously readable account of the British Empire at conflict. From the British invasion of Egypt to the tragedy of Gordon of Khartoum, it culminates in most cases Kitchener's march to Omdurmann that observed Winston Churchill perform one of many final battlefield fees through British cavalry. Michael Barthorp unearths the strengths and weaknesses of Queen Victoria's military, its marvelous yet wayward officer corps and the pro infantrymen who encouraged such a lot of Kipling poems.
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Extra resources for Blood-red Desert Sand: The British Invasions of Egypt and the Sudan 1882-98
I stared at the stars, bracing myself for the verbal pokes D O W N T H E N I L E 41 and slaps, but the man remained silent. Without asking how old I was, where I was from, or whether I was married, he said softly, “This is my boat. You can using it any times. It is always in docked across in front of Oberoi Hotel. You don’t need ask. ” The pier was illuminated only by the dim lights of restaurants on the bank above it, and it was difficult to make out the man’s features in the moonless night. His words carried trust and respect and were surprisingly devoid of the usual distancing banter, the jokes, the sexual innuendo, or mention of money.
Passengers only were allowed on the upper deck, while the lower deck was reserved for the usually flea-ridden crew. The kitchen, a shed equipped with a charcoal stove, was situated toward the front of the boat, away from the passengers’ cabins. Amelia Edwards, who traveled up the Nile in 1872 and wrote a staggeringly detailed account of her trip, including every hieroglyph she studied, every snack she ate, and the number of steps at the Temple of Horus at Edfu (she counted 224), offers in her book, A Thousand Miles Up the Nile, probably the most thorough description extant of a Nile dahabieh: A dahabeeyah [has] four sleeping cabins, two on each side.
It struck me as uniquely unlikely, like finding a book called Mother Teresa’s Personal Guide to the Mississippi, or Notes on the Volga by Grandma Moses. I thought it had to be some other Florence Nightingale. It wasn’t. I opened the book to its dead center and read: We saw the whole crew start up, fl ing down their oars, and begin to fight violently . . howling and screaming and kicking, the boat of course drifting down upon the rocks meantime . . Out rushed Paolo with an ebony club, — which I had bought from the Berber savages coming up the cataract .