Khedive Ismail's Army: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Khedive Ismail's Army

1st Edition

By John P. Dunn


246 pages

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Khedive Ismail's Army examines military failure in the age of imperialism.

On paper, the mid-nineteenth century Egyptian army seems a formidable regional power. It had a tradition of success, modern weapons, and mercenary officers with experience in major wars. Egypt's ruler, Khedive Ismail, hoped to combine the imported technology and brains with native manpower, and establish an Egyptian dominated Horn of Africa. His soldiers did conquer parts of the Sudan, but they suffered disastrous defeats during the Egyptian Abyssinian War of 1875 to 1876.

Presenting the first detailed examination of the Egyptian Abyssinian War in English, this new book also looks at the root problems that made Ismail's soldiers ineffective. These include issues of class, racism, internal, and external politics, finance, and the rapidly changing world of mid-Nineteenth Century military technology. This book is aimed at military historians, and will be of interest to those studying the Middle East or North East Africa.


"Dunn does an excellent job explaining complex and even contradictory cultural, political, and military institutions in Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and adjacent areas. His accounts of military campaigns and battles are clear, and he introduces the reader to some interesting characters along the way, including a number of American Civil War veterans, from both North and South, and several local leaders such as the Emperors Tewodros and Yohannis of Abyssinia, and even a look at the early career of the great Menelik." - Albert Nofi, The NYMAS Review

Table of Contents

1. Diamonds in the Rough 2. Creating a Military Machine. Muhammad Ali and his Neo-Mamluks 3. "Hideous Negroes from Nubia." Egypt and the Crimean War 4. Avec sang-froid le plus rare. Said and the Mexican Adventure 5. Conscripts, Stage Villains, and Slave Soldiers. Rank and File in the Army of Khedive Ismail 6. Native Born or Mercenary? Selecting Officers for the Army of Khedive Ismail 7. Weapons Procurement Policies and the Egyptian Economy 8. The Khedive and the Sultan 9. The Imperial Road. Egyptian Expansion in the Sudan 10. Imperial Apogee. The Coming of the Egyptian-Abyssinian War 11. Descent into the Maelstrom. Egypt invades Harar, Awsa, and the Somali Coast 12. A Ridge to Far. The Gundet Campaign 13. The Abyssinian Army 14. The Gura Campaign 15. End Game, Bibliography.

About the Author

John P. Dunn is an Assistant Professor of History at Valdosta State University, Georgia, USA. He studies military affairs in nineteenth century Egypt, Poland and China. His work has appeared in The Journal of Military History, War in History, and The Journal of Slavic Military Affairs.

About the Series

Cass Military Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Military / General