The Kitchener Enigma : The Life and Death of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum 1850-1916
In this critically acclaimed biography, now fully updated, Royle revises Kitchener's latter-day image as a stern taskmaster, the ultimate war lord, to reveal a caring man capable of displaying great loyalty and love to those close to him. New light is thrown on his Irish childhood, his years in the Middle East as a biblical archaeologist, his attachment to the Arab cause and on the infamous struggle with Lord Curzon over control of the army in India. In particular, Royle reassesses Kitchener's role in the Great War, presenting his phenomenally successful recruitment campaign - 'Your Country Needs You' - as a major contribution to the Allied victory and rehabilitating him as a brilliant strategist who understood the importance of fi ghting the war on multiple fronts.
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Trevor Royle is a well-known author and broadcaster who has an impressive catalogue of military books to his name. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is also a member of the Scottish government's advisory panel for commemorating the First World War.
The Kitchener Enigma was republished in 2016 to commemorate the centenary of the death of Field Marshall Kitchener of Khartoum. The author explains in the preface and acknowledgements that the book has been reduced from the original 1985 publication and necessary corrections have been made to the original text.
The one image that the name Kitchener evokes in the minds of many people is the World War One recruiting poster of Kitchener's pointing finger and the phrase 'Your Country Needs You'. This book uncovers, explains and discusses the many traits, emotions and conflicts of the personality of Kitchener and leaves the reader with a clearer picture of the man portrayed in the poster.
Born Horatio Herbert Kitchener in 1850 at Listowel in County Kerry, he entered The Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in 1868, passing twenty-eighth in a list of fifty six successful candidates. After the Battle of Omdurman and the reoccupation of Khartoum in 1898, he became a national hero. He reluctantly accepted the post of secretary of state for war in 1914 but his popularity with the public was not reflected with his cabinet colleagues. Kitchener had a reputation of keeping things to himself and confiding in only a close circle of family and friends. He died in 1916 when HMS Hampshire hit a German mine and sank off the coast of Orkney on the way to Russia.
I cannot comment on whether the republication of the 1985 edition is an improvement or how much has been changed in the content and text. I can say that the text is easy to read and the book would suit a reader new to the subject as well as someone that would like to know more about Kitchener. The dust jacket is brown and austere with large black and red script. The front cover shows Kitchener middle aged and sprucely turned out in uniform. The reverse cover of the book shows Kitchener in a more relaxed pose, as a young man in uniform. The notes and bibliography have subtitles for ease of reference. There is also an index of names and places.
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