Wednesday, July 29, 2020

My Sudan Reading List

I've recently ordered a number of books about the Sudan campaigns of the 1880s and 1890s and all of the books have come home to roost in my library. So in order from best to average are the following:

1) Khartoum The Ultimate Imperial Adventure - Michael Asher

2) Go Strong Into The Desert - Lt. Col. Mike Snook

3) The River War - Winston Churchill

4) Blood on the Nile (Black Powder supplement)

5) With Hicks Pasha In The Soudan - John Colborne

6) Fire and Sword in the Sudan - Rudolph Carl Slatin ("Slatin Pasha")

Book choice #1 arrived the other day (saving the best for last?) and I did a Half Gainer into the volume right away. People told me that this is a hard book to put down and they are right. The account of the Desert Column's desperate fight to get to Mettameh and the Nile is very compelling and reveals how close it came to destruction.

Mike Snook's book looks really good too. I've skimmed through it and read several of the sections, but I can already tell that this is a good book. Snook has actually visited the battlefields in the Sudan and includes pictures of the ground today, which are very helpful. The book is published by Perry Miniatures and includes some of their drawings. My one nit to pick is that the font is too small and hard to read for my 67 year old eyes and the picture caption use a light grey color typeface

3) Winston Churchill has a good writing style that is easy to read, albeit it is not politically correct by today's standards. His book would not get published in 2020.

4) The Black Powder book has extraordinary eye candy featuring superb Sudan game layouts. The book is worth buying for the inspirational value.

5) John  Colborne was a British officer on Hicks Pasha's staff and he did not get along very well with Hicks. Colborne had the good fortune to be ill on that fateful day - was back at a base and so missed out on his chance at immortal fame or infamy. This gives us a first hand account of the campaign, which makes the book worthwhile.

6) Slatin Pasha was an Austrian who had been the governor of Egyptian Darfor and was captured by the Mahdi prior to the fall of Khartoum. He was held in captivity for a dozen or so years before making his escape in 1895.

This reading list should keep me going for quite awhile. I also have the Michael Barthorp book and several Osprey Campaign books to round out my resource collection. Let me know if you can recommend any other titles. Snook has a second book that I will probably purchase.


  1. A veritable cornucopia of books. Plenty to keep you occupied and no doubt motivate you even more with the 54mm collection

  2. Only one of these books I've read is the one by Churchill, which I got off Amazon for free. Good read, though his cataloguing the logistics of the campaign would probably wear on folks who aren't interested in that side of the campaign (I'm not one of these people, currently am reading a book on Roman Army logistics). Can't say the Sudan campaign is high on my interest list, am more interested in the Zulu War. Only gaming I've done is a boardgame on Omdurman which appeared in Strategy & Tactics magazine. Like the AARs your group has put out.