Recommended Reading

Books about Kitchener
John Pollock

A magnificent biography of the architect of British military strategy in WWI.

'A sympathetic portrait of a prodigy whose flaws were as heroic as his virtues. Pollock skillfully deploys both official accounts and private letters to rehabilitate his hero. And he convinces me that Kitchener was human after all.'
Sunday Times

'Pollock weaves the history of the period easily into the narrative without losing sight of his man... in the "hard to put down category".'
Country Life

Constable, 0 094 80340 4
320pp, b/w ills

IN the autumn of 1898 London went wild in its welcome to Kitchener of Khartoum, 'K of K': victor of the Battle of Omdurman, destroyer of tyranny, avenger of General Gordon, his own hero, whose life has already been written by John Pollock in a previous book.

Kitchener is based, like Gordon, on contemporary manuscript and printed sources. In a fast-paced narrative Pollock tells of Kitchener's boyhood in Ireland and Switzerland. After survey work in the Holy Land and Cyprus the young Royal Engineer becomes a 'blood brother' of Arabs and a vital link between the outside world and Gordon, besieged in Khartoum. Eleven years after Gordon's murder Herbert Kitchener, now Sirdar of the Egyptian Army, begins the Reconquest of the Sudan. At incredibly little cost in money and their lives, he leads an Anglo-Egyptian force in the River War which ends in the victory at Omdurman, then personally lays down the principles which, for nearly sixty years, made the Sudan one of the best-governed lands in the British Empire, always in the best interests of the people.

John Pollock rediscovers K of K's true character. Painfully shy and loathing personal publicity 'K' was often misunderstood. Beneath a reserved, sometimes brusque, manner lay a warm heart, moved by a deep Christian faith. He also had the severe handicap of bad eyesight, which he tried hard to disguise.

Pollock meets head-on the rumours and questions which more recently have clouded Kitchener's reputation. Was he brutal? Did he have a defeated Dervish general publicly lashed as he marched? Did he order the Dervish wounded to be slaughtered? Was he homosexual? By thorough research and unimpeachable evidence Pollock tears away the false picture of Kitchener.

The first half of the biography ends in 1902 soon after Kitchener's second triumphal welcome in London as the victor of the South African War. British politicians had wanted a vindictive peace. Kitchener achieved a peace of reconciliation and goodwill. And, the second half shows, it was his fervent hope to repeat this feat when the Great War should end in the victory which his vision and organizing made possible. His death by enemy action in 1916, followed in 1919 by the vindictive peace of Versailles, was thus a tragedy for Europe and the world. This book explains why K of K was the icon of his age, who dominated the early years of the present century.

Place of publication London unless noted otherwise.

Pollock, John, Kitchener

John Pollock was born in London and comes from a well known legal family. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After war service in the Coldstream Guards, and two years teaching history and divinity at Wellington College, he was rector of a country parish until he became a full-time writer in 1958. His many biographies have had a wide sale. They include Wilberforce and Gordon, who was Kitchener's hero. Books by John Pollock have been translated into fourteen languages. He and his wife live in Devonshire.

Arthur, Sir George, Life of Lord Kitchener, 3 vols, 1920

A Septuagenarian's Scrapbook, 1933

Not Worth Reading, 1938

A Glance From His Letters, ed. Christopher Pemberton, privately printed,

Birmingham, 1950

Some Letters of a Man of No Importance, 1928

More Letters …, 1930

Asquith, Margot, More Memories, 1933

Babikr Bedi, Memoirs, Vol 2, translated by Ysuf Beolti and Peter Hogg, 1980

Bates, Darrell, The Fashoda Incident 1898, 1984

Beatty, B., Kerry Memories, Camborne, 1939

Benbow, Colin, Boer P.O.W.s in Bermuda, Bermuda, 3rd edn, 1994

Besant, Sir Walter, Twenty -One Years' Work in the Holy Land, 1889

Birdwood, Lord, Khaki and Gown, 1942

Burleigh, Bennett, Sirdar and Khalifa, 1899

Caldwell, C.E., Confessions of a Dug Out, 1920

Cecil, Lord Edward, Leisure of an Egyptian Official, 1938

Charlton, C.E.C.G., A Soldier's Story, privately printed, 1963

Churchill, Winston S., The River War, 2 vols 1899

Chruchill, Randolph S., Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 1, Youth, 1966.

Companion Volumes

Conder, C.R., Tent Work in Palestine, 2 vols, 1878

Daly, M.W., Empire on the Nile, Oxford, 1986

Daiches, Samuel, Lord Kitchener and His Work in Palestine, 1915

Doolittle, Duncan H., A Soldier's Hero: The Life of General Sir Archibald Hunter, 

Narragansett, Rhode Island 1991

Duncan, J.S.R., The Sudan: A Record of Achievement, 1932

Esher, Viscount, The Tragedy of Lord Kitchener, Journals and Letters, 4 vols, 


Fisher, John, That Miss Hobhouse, 1971

Frankland, Noble, Witness of a Century: The Life and Times of Prince Arthur, 

Duke of Connaught 1850-1942, 1993

Gaughan, J. Anthony, The Knights of Glin, Dublin, 1978

Listowel and Its Vicinity, Cork, 1973

Gilbert, Martin, Sir Horace Rumbold, 1973

Gordon, Charles, The Journals of Major-General C.G.Gordon, ed. E. Hake, 1885

Hamilton, Sir Ian, The Commander, ed. A. Farrar-Hockley, 1957

Hill, Richard, A Biographical Dictionary of the Sudan, 2nd edn, 1967

Hunter, Archie, Kitchener's Sword-Arm: The Life and Campaign of Sir Archibald

Hunter, Staplehurst, 1996

Jackson, H.C., Pastor on the Nile, 1960

James, David, Lord Roberts, 1953

Keown-Boyd, Henry, A Good Dusting: The Sudan Campaigns 1883-1899, 1986

Soldiers of the Nile: British Officers of the Egyptian Army 1882-1925,

Thornbury, 1996

Kruger, Rayne, Good-bye Dolly Gray, 1983 edn

Letters of Queen Victoria, Second Series, 3 vols; Third Series, 3 vols,

ed.G.E.Buckle, 1928-32

LeMay, G.H.L., British Supremacy in South Africa, 1988-1907, 1965

Liddell, A.G.C., Notes from the Life of An Ordinary Mortal, 1911

Lyttleton, Sir Neville, Eighty Years' Soldiering, 1927

MacMichael, Sir Harold, The Sudan, 1955

Magnus, Philip, Kitchener: Portrait of An Imperialist, 1958

Mallet, Sir Victor, ed., Life with Queen Victoria, 1968

Marlowe, John, Cromer in Egypt, 1970

Maurice, Frederick, The Life of General Lord Rawlinson, 1928

Maxwell, Charlotte, Frank Maxwell, V.C.

Meintjès, Johannes, de la Rey, Lion of the West, Johannesburg, 1966

Pakenham, Thomas, The Boer War, 1979

The Scramble for Africa, 1991

Pollock, John, Gordon: The Man Behind the Legend, 1993

Preston, Adrian, In Relief of Gordon: Lord Wolseley's Campaign Journal, 1967

[Pritchard H.L.], The Sudan Campaign 1896-1899, by 'An Officer', 1899

Repington, Charles a Court, Vestigia, 1919

Rose, Kenneth, The later Cecils, 1975

Royale, Trevor, Death Before Dishonour: The True Story of Fighting Mac,

Edinburgh, 1982

The Kitchener Enigma, 1985

Rye, J.B., and Groser, Horace G., Kitchener in His Own Words, 1917

Sandes, E.W.C., The Royal Engineers in Egypt and the Sudan, 1937

Scudamore, Frank, A Sheaf of Memories, 1925

Smith-Dorrien, Sir Horace, Memories of Forty-Eight Years' Service, 1925

Sommer, Dudley, Haldane of Cloan, 1960

Steevens, G.W., With Kitchener to Khartoum, 1898

Storrs, Sir Ronald, Orientations, 1937

Tulloch, Sir A.B., Recollections of Forty Years' Service, 1925

Warner, Philip, Kitchener: The Man Behind The Legend, 1985

Webster, William Bullock, Ireland Considered for a Field of Investment or

Residence, Dublin, 1852

Wingate, Reginald, Mahdism and the Egyptian Soudan, 1896

Wingate, Sir Ronald, Wingate of the Sudan, 1955

Winstone, H.V.F., The Diaries of Parker Pasha, 1983

Wright, Patricia, Fashoda, 1972

Wood, Sir Evelyn, From Midshipman to Field Marshal, 2 vols, 1906

Ziegler, Philip, Omdurman, 1972

Zulfo, Ismat Hazan, Karari, translated by Peter Clark, 1980