A war, with little popular support, perpetrated by the strongest military force on earth, utilizing indigenous troops, for the purpose of liberating an Arab country from radical Islamists sounds like current events. And certainly it is, but it is also old news. Sudan (spelled ‘Soudan’ in this text) languished under the heel of the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad. Even the false prophet’s sudden death did not spare the long suffering land from abuse at the hands of greedy, brutal, slave trading emirs. After years of hand wringing Britain could no longer stand idly on the Egyptian border. Their solution has become a familiar tactic: send a small expeditionary force, recruit local battalions, deploy state of the art weaponry, and then they did something unique to the late nineteenth century—they built a railroad. In northern Sudan the Nile makes a tremendous loop adding hundreds of miles to it course, and river traffic is further delayed by a series of cataracts, so Sir H. Kitchener, moved his troops and matériel twenty miles per day on newly laid tracks, in a direct line across the desert, while the Kalipha and his emirs watched their doom approach from behind the walls of Omdurman. The allied combatants consisted of Egyptian and Sudanese infantry, cavalry and camelry (yes, there is such a word even if Microsoft disagrees). One member of the British cavalry was a young subaltern named Winston Spencer Churchill who participated in a sabre charge against Sudanese Dervishes and survived to become the leader of a nuclear power.
The River War, an Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, is an extraordinary period piece and a lesson that generation after generation of world leaders cannot learn. When radical Islam becomes entrenched, it must be annihilated. Wherever Islam is unchecked will be terrorism, slavery, imperialism and brutal misogyny. Copyrighted in 1902, Churchill was only four years beyond his participation in this rather sanguine conflict, thus his meticulous detail and transporting description draws the reader into this fight on the Nile. This remarkable book can be found in all electronic formats, absolutely free, at the Gutenberg Project. Of course, donations are appreciated.