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The River War.

An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan. Edited by Col. F. Rhodes, DSO. Illustrated by Angus McNeill, Seaforth Highlanders.

London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1899 Stock Code: 105504
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First edition, first impression, second state, with minor typographic error on p. 459 of volume II corrected (so that the second inverted comma in the line THE 'LONDON GAZETTE' is now present). The River War was Churchill's second book, preceded only by The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898), "2,000 copies published on 6 November 1899" (Woods). It includes, of course, his account of the charge of the 21st Lancers, to whom he was attached, at Omdurman on 2 September 1898, described by the old Dictionary of National Biography as "that last cavalry charge of the dying century".

"The River War (1899), a two-volume work in which the story of the campaign was firmly embedded in a remarkably sympathetic history of the Sudanese revolt against Egyptian rule. Churchill wrote: 'Those whose practice it is to regard their own nation as possessing a monopoly of virtue and common sense are wont to ascribe every military enterprise of savage people to fanaticism. They calmly ignore obvious and legitimate motives upon the whole there exists no better case for rebellion than presented itself to the Soudanese'. Churchill was also critical of aspects of British imperialism. He censured Kitchener for his part in the desecration of the Mahdi's tomb and the slaughter of wounded dervish soldiers. For all that, he never doubted the 'civilizing mission' of the British in Asia and Africa" (ODNB).

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2 volumes, octavo (222 x 150 mm). 20th-century purple quarter sheep, spines gilt lettered direct, overall blind decoration to compartments, marbled paper sides, red edges, speckled endpapers.


Photogravure portrait frontispiece to each volume (Cromer and Kitchener), 5 similar plates, one full-page photogravure to the text, 50 wood-engravings to the text by Angus Neil, 23 colour maps and battle plans, all but 3 folding, 11 maps to the text of wh


Spines sunned, covers slightly bowed, small stain at fore-edge of vol. I (encroaching only slightly into margins), old tape repair to foot of p. 146 (vol. I) and at head of pp. 457-8 (vol. II), paper reinforcement to folds of maps, scattered foxing (a little heavy in places), occasional thumbing. A good copy.


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