The Mahdi of Allah

Price: 65.00 USD

New York: The Macmillan Company, 1932. Here is a jacketed U.S. first edition of this scarce work bearing a lengthy introduction by Winston Churchill. Mohammed Ahmed was a messianic Islamic leader in central and northern Sudan in the final decades of the 19th century. Claiming that Allah had selected him as the true Mahdi, he found fertile political ground in the resentment of the inhabitants toward the corruption and oppression by Egyptian rulers who had long dominated the region. Economic and political problems in Egypt further strengthened the Mahdi's hand, enabling his forces and followers to occupy most of the Sudan. In 1883 the Mahdists overwhelmed the Egyptian army of British commander William Hicks, and Great Britain ordered the withdrawal of all Egyptian troops and officials from the Sudan. In 1885, General Gordon famously lost his life in a doomed defence of the capitol, Khartoum, where he had been sent to lead evacuation of Egyptian forces. Though the Mahdi died in 1885, his theocracy continued until 1898, when the British general Kitchener reoccupied the Sudan. A very young Winston Churchill would participate in the decisive battle of Omdurman in September 1898, where the Mahdist forces were decisively defeated. The young war correspondent and British cavalry officer Churchill would write his second published book - The River War - about this British campaign in the Sudan. In The River War, Churchill was unusually sympathetic to the Mahdist forces and critical of the British Army - so much so that the 1902 second edition of his book excised much of his politically delicate criticism about Kitchener. In 1931, Churchill wrote a four-page introduction for this book about the Mahdi from - in the words of Churchill - "the Mahdi's point of view". Churchill's broadminded understanding endures three decades after he fought the Mahdi's forces: "It is interesting to know that [the Mahdi's] operations with fire and sword through the Sudan were based on a religious enthusiasm as sincere and philanthropic as that which inspired Saint Dominic or General Booth." This work is translated from the original German and Churchill's introduction appears only in the British and U.S. editions. Here is the first U.S edition, only printing, of this work, a nearly very good copy in a worn and faded but mostly complete dust jacket. The red-orange cloth binding remains square, clean, and tight with minor wear to extremities and fading to the spine ends corresponding to dust jacket losses. The contents remain clean with no spotting. The sole previous ownership mark noted is a gift inscription in pencil to the first free endpaper verso. The pastedowns are browned and the untrimmed fore edges, though clean, are age-toned. The red dust jacket is neatly price-clipped at the lower front flap with a sunned spine and wear along the hinges and flap folds and losses at the spine ends and edges to a maximum depth of 3/8 inch at the spine head. The dust jacket is protected in a removable, archival quality clear cover. Bibliographic reference: Cohen B47.2, Woods B17. First U.S. edition. Very good minus.

Available From

Churchill Book Collector
San Diego, CA