• African Kaiser

    Robert Gaudi

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, the continent of Africa was a hotbed of international trade, colonialism, and political gamesmanship. So when World War I broke out, the European powers were forced to contend with one another not just in the bloody trenches, but in the treacherous jungle. And it was in that unforgiving land that General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck would make history.

    If all military histories were as thrilling and well written as African Kaiser, I might give up reading fiction.’ — Washington Post

    At the turn of the twentieth century, European colonial powers scrambled in Africa for trade, land and political advantage. When the First World War broke out, they were forced to contend with one another not just in trenches on the Western Front, but in East Africa’s swamps and savannahs. In that unforgiving landscape, General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and a small cadre of hardened German officers fought as equals with their African troops against the Allies, creating the first truly integrated army of the modern age.

    African Kaiser is the fascinating tale of a forgotten guerrilla campaign: of rhino charges and artillery duels with scavenged naval guns; of hunted German battleships hidden up unmapped river deltas; of a desperate army in the wilderness, cut off from the world, enduring starvation, malaria, and dysentery; and of the remarkable intercontinental voyage of Zeppelin L59, whose improbable 4,000 mile journey to the Equator and back made aviation history. But mostly, it is the incredible true story of General von Lettow-Vorbeck, the only undefeated German commander of the Great War.


    Robert Gaudi is a freelance writer and historian. At one time or another, he has worked for the National Endowment for the Arts, tended bar, and managed a classic car restoration shop. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.


    ‘If all military histories were as thrilling and well written as African Kaiser, I might give up reading fiction and literary bio­graphy. … Gaudi writes with the flair of a latter-day Macaulay. He sets his scenes carefully and describes naval and military action like a novelist. His sentences are models of clarity and vivacity, sometimes further enlivened with wry authorial comments.’ — Washington Post

    African Kaiser is an entertaining and insightful read. Gaudi is superb on what made von Lettow such a formidable exponent of irregular warfare and on the reasons why his African soldiers would have followed him to the ends of the earth.’ — Literary Review

    ‘Robert Gaudi combines a researcher’s meticulous precision with a novelist’s consummate storytelling skill to piece together a thousand shards of forgotten history into this astonishing and irresistible confection.’ — Madison Smartt Bell

    Hardback / July 2017 / 9781849048675 / 448pp

  • Balochistan, the British and the Great Game

    Heathcote, T. A.

    The Great Game for Central Asia led to British involvement in Balochistan, a sparsely-populated area in Pakistan, mostly desert and mountain, and containing the Bolan Pass, the southern counterpart of the more famous Khyber. It occupies a position of great strategic importance between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and the Arabian Sea.

    Heathcote’s book is a history of the Khanate of Kalat and of British operations against the Baloch hill tribes who raided frontier settlements and the Bolan caravans. Its themes include rivalry between British officials in Sind and the Punjab, high profile disputes between British politicians over frontier policy and organisation, and the British occupation of Quetta, guardian city of the Bolan, in the run-up to the Second Afghan War. Among the many strong characters in this story is Sir Robert Sandeman, hitherto hailed as ‘the peaceful conqueror of Balochistan’, now revealed as a ruthless careerist, whose personal ambitions led to the fragmentation of the country under British domination. The closing chapter summarises subsequent events up to modern times, in which the Baloch have maintained a long-running struggle for greater autonomy within Pakistan.


    A. Heathcote studied history at SOAS, London, from where he joined the National Army Museum. He later transferred to the RMA Sandhurst, where he was for many years the Curator.


    ‘This book comprehensively details the greater Balochistan area, its place in the strategic Great Game, and the interesting role played by British officials there. It enhances our understanding of this still volatile and important region and is a “must read” for those wanting to know about Balochistan’s history in depth.’ — Christopher Snedden, Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, and author of Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris

    ‘Tony Heathcote, the author of several distinguished works on the British military in India, brings a wealth of expertise to this study of the “Great Game”. He tells a fascinating story that needs to be read by anyone who seeks to understand an area that remains, to this day, strategically vital.’ — Gary Sheffield, Professor of War Studies, University of Wolverhampton

    ‘Heathcote’s impressive archival research and encyclopaedic understanding of this complex region yields a fascinating narrative from a long-ignored chapter of Britain’s colonial enterprise in South Asia. For scholars, students and general readers alike, the story of Balochistan’s role in the game of Empire and its colourful central characters proves engaging, enlightening and — above all — entertaining.’ — Willem Marx, journalist and author of Balochistan at a Crossroads

  • Colonial Lahore

    Tahir Kamran

    A number of studies of colonial Lahore in recent years have explored such themes as the city’s modernity, its cosmopolitanism and the rise of communalism which culminated in the bloodletting of 1947. This first synoptic history moves away from the prism of the Great Divide of 1947 to examine the cultural and social connections which linked colonial Lahore with North India and beyond. In contrast to portrayals of Lahore as inward looking and a world unto itself, the authors argue that imperial globalisation intensified long established exchanges of goods, people and ideas.

    Ian Talbot and Tahir Kamran’s book is reflective of concerns arising from the global history of Empire and the new urban history of South Asia. These are addressed thematically rather than through a conventional chronological narrative, as the book uncovers previously neglected areas of Lahore’s history, including the links between Lahore’s and Bombay’s early film industries and the impact on the ‘tourist gaze’ of the consumption of both text and visual representation of India in newsreels and photographs.


    Ian Talbot is Professor of modern British history and formerly head of history at the University of Southampton. He has written numerous books on the Partition of India, and the modern history of Pakistan.

    Tahir Kamran teaches history at G. C. University, Lahore and was until recently Allama Iqbal Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Wolfson College. He has published widely on sectarian militancy and the politics of religious exclusion in Pakistan and is an editor of the Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies.


    ‘This is a must read book by two leading specialists on Punjab history, providing a wonderfully rich introduction into the character and cosmopolitanism of  Lahore under the raj. The volume is clearly written, well researched, and joy to read. It  should be of great interest to the specialist and generalist alike.’ — Gurharpal Singh, Professor in Inter-Religious Relations and Development, SOAS, University of London

    Colonial Lahore breathes new life into this city’s recent history, bringing the local into direct and often intimate conversation with the global, and vice versa.  It transforms our appreciation of Lahore’s unique past, in effect sealing the city’s credentials as one of South Asia’s most important, if often overlooked, zones of interaction in the era of imperial globalisation.’ — Sarah Ansari, Professor of History, Royal Holloway, University of London

    ‘A very rich account of colonial Lahore, essential for understanding the place of the city in South Asia’s past. It shows the great diversity and complexity of the city Lahore, and importantly, how it stood at the very heart of imperial connections and networks across the empire’. — Yasmin Khan, University Lecturer (Associate Professor) in British History, author of The Great Partition: the Making of India and Pakistan

    ‘Talbot and Kamran have made one of the first scholarly attempts to explore the social, cultural, and, to some extent, the economic, life of Lahore — one of the world’s great cities, known to some as the ‘Paris of the East’. Focussing on the colonial period, they make good use of evidence ranging from tourist guidebooks to newspaper advertisements. They also succeed in placing the city at the centre of a web of connections reaching out to the great cities of India – Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay and Karachi, but also to Afghanistan, Arabia, Europe and North America. The love which Talbot and Kamran have for Lahore is evident throughout.’ — Francis Robinson, Professor of the History of South Asia, Royal Holloway, University of London

    Hardback, February 2017 / 9781849046534 / 256pp

  • Colonial Violence

    Dierk Walter

    Translated by Peter Lewis

    Western interventions today have much in common with the countless violent conflicts that have occurred on Europe’s periphery since the conquest of the Americas. Like their predecessors, modern imperial wars are shaped by geography and terrain and by pronounced asymmetries of military organisation, resources, modes of warfare and cultures of violence. Today’s imperial wars are essentially civil wars, in which Western powers are only one player among many. As ever, the Western military machine is incapable of resolving political strife through force, or of engaging opponents with no reason to offer conventional combat, who instead rely on guerrilla warfare and terrorism. And, as they always have, local populations pay the price for these shortcomings.

    Colonial Violence offers, for the first time, a coherent explanation of the logic of violent hostilities within the context of European expansion. Walter’s analysis reveals parallels between different empires and continuities spanning historical epochs. He concludes that recent Western military interventions, from Afghanistan to Mali, are not new wars, but stand in the 500-year-old tradition of transcultural violent conflict.


    Dierk Walter is a lecturer in Modern History at the Universities of Bern and Hamburg. His research focuses on the history of European expansion and Western military history since the eighteenth century. He has previously published a study on nineteenth-century Prussian military reform, and co-edited a number of volumes on military history and the Cold War.

    **(The translation of this work was funded by Geisteswissenschaften International — Translation Funding for Work in the Humanities and Social Sciences from Germany, a joint initiative of the Fitz Thyssen Foundation, the German Federal Foreign Office, the collecting society VG WORT and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association)).


    It is excellent that Dierk Walter’s survey of colonial conflict has been translated into English. This is military history as it should be written: conceptually broad, chronologically ambitious.

    ‘An important book that offers a clear point of view on the violence inherent to imperialism, whether Western or not. Worth considering alongside high rates of violence in recent and current non-Western warfare.’ — Jeremy Black, Professor of History, University of Exeter

    ‘It is excellent that Dierk Walter’s survey of colonial conflict has been translated into English. This is military history as it should be written: conceptually broad, chronologically ambitious, and — above all — transnational. His case for continuity — bridging colonial conquest, decolonisation, and recent interventions — will provoke, as it should, but that is the hallmark of an important book.’ — Sir Hew Strachan, Chichele Professor of the History of War, Oxford University

    ‘Broad canvas syntheses that put violence at the heart of the West’s engagement with the wider world have been rare — understanding and acceptance of the significance and consequences of its violence rarer still. Walter brings enormous comparative and summary power to its study, resulting in a highly readable and necessary work. Colonial Violence should stand as an elegant corrective, particularly in its emphasis on the continuity of violence through to the present day.’ — Ashley Jackson, Professor of Imperial and Military History, King’s College London; author of The British Empire: A Very Short Introduction

    Colonial Violence offers a comprehensive, scholarly interpretation and synthesis of the pattern of military violence associated with imperialism since around 1600. Based on a wide and deep familiarity with imperial military campaigns and asymmetric conflict, its conclusions regarding the weakness of the imperial powers relative to their indigenous foes, the continuities in imperial campaigns over time and place, and the root cause of excessive violence in the imperial situation rather than in ideology, will surprise and challenge many readers. Well written and clearly organized, this study will doubtless become a standard account of imperial military violence.’ — Isabel Virginia Hull, John Stambaugh Professor of History, Cornell University

    ‘Walter, with forensic skill, comprehensively analyses the causes, courses, and consequences of colonial wars and violence. This startlingly good study should be read and thought over by all with an interest in Europe’s global imperial military reach over the past five hundred years.’ — David Killingray, Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths London

    November 2017 / 9781849048071 / 352pp


  • Darfur and the British

    R. S. O’Fahey

    This volume presents annotated selections from the British records that were copied in situ by the author in al-Fashir and Kutum in 1970 and 1974 and of which the originals were subsequently destroyed by accident. The British were in Darfur for only forty years (1916–56) and, administratively, their impact was minimal. In retrospect, their most important role was in recording and codifying the customary law and administrative practice under the sultans. Their significance has become the greater recently following reports that the Sudan National Records Office is no long accessible to researchers. Darfur was unique in a Sudanese colonial context in that in 1916 the British conquered a functioning multi-ethnic African Muslim state. Their policy in the forty years of their rule was largely to maintain the system they had inherited from the sultans. Although they made some administrative modifications, it was only in the last few years before independence in 1956 that tentative steps were taken towards change, for example the introduction of local government in the towns. The material described here, a combination of administrative practice and ethnographic reporting, is far from simply academic in importance, but is invaluable on such issues as land tenure, agricultural practice, grazing rights and livestock migration routes, tribal administration and compensation for injury and death.


    R.S. O’Fahey is Professor of History at the Department of Middle Eastern and African History, University of Bergen, Norway.


    ‘Sean O’Fahey, the premier historian of Darfur, has produced an invaluable compendium of key documents from the brief but significant period of British administration in the province, with insightful commentary. It is a fascinating window into a world that has passed into history, but whose details are still highly relevant to administration and conflict resolution in Darfur today. It is also a record of how the British consolidated Darfur’s older sultanic system of governance, in a way that retains a powerful grip on Darfurians’ political imagination.’ — Alex de Waal, Research Professor and Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation, Tufts University

    ‘This magnificent and carefully evaluated collection of closely commented documents could easily be titled “Understanding Sudan’s Sahelian crisis”, so helpful is it in explaining why the Nilotic giant is choking on his undigested western colony.’ — Gerard Prunier, author of Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide

    Hardback / January 2017 / 9781850659488 / 352pp

  • From Cairo to Baghdad

    James Canton

    Until the 1880s, British travellers to Arabia were for the most part wealthy dilettantes who could fund their travels from private means. With the advent of an Imperial presence in the region, as the British seized power in Egypt, the very nature of travel to the Middle East changed. Suddenly, ordinary men and women found themselves visiting the region as British influence increased. Missionaries, soldiers and spies as well as tourists and explorers started to visit the area, creating an ever bigger supply of writers, and market for their books. In a similar fashion, as the Empire receded in the wake of World War II, so did the whole tradition of Middle East travel writing. In this elegantly crafted book, James Canton examines over one hundred primary sources, from forgotten gems to the classics of T E Lawrence, Thesiger and Philby. He analyses the relationship between Empire and author, showing how the one influenced the other, leading to a vast array of texts that might never have been produced had it not been for the ambitions of Imperial Britain. This work makes for essential reading for all of those interested in the literature of Empire, travel writing and the Middle East.


    James Canton teaches at the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. He studied at Exeter and Essex universities, gaining a PhD in literature. He has taught widely in the UK and Egypt, and has himself travelled extensively across the Middle East.

    Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.

    ISBN: 9781780769875
    Publication Date: 29 Sep 2014
    Number of Pages: 320
    Illustrations: 2 maps, 5 integrated black white

  • Inglorious Empire

    Shashi Tharoor

    In the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as large as Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation. Inglorious Empire tells the real story of the British in India – from the arrival of the East India Company to the end of the Raj – revealing how Britain’s rise was built upon its plunder of India. British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial ‘gift’ – from the railways to the rule of law – was designed in Britain’s interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain’s Industrial Revolution was founded on India’s deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry. In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain’s stained Indian legacy.

    Shashi Tharoor


    Shashi Tharoor served for twenty-nine years at the UN, culminating as Under- Secretary General. He is a Congress MP in India, the author of fourteen previous books and has won numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Tharoor has a PhD from the Fletcher School and was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1998 as a Global Leader of Tomorrow.



    ‘Ferocious and astonishing. Essential for a Britain lost in sepia fantasies about its past, Inglorious Empire is history at its clearest and cutting best.’ — Ben Judah, author of This is London

    ‘Rare indeed is it to come across history that is so readable and so persuasive.’ — Amitav Ghosh

    ‘Brilliant … A searing indictment of the Raj and its impact on India. … Required reading for all Anglophiles in former British colonies, and needs to be a textbook in Britain.’ — Salil Tripathi, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International, and author of The Colonel Who Would Not Repent.

    Hardback / March 2017 / 9781849048088 / 296pp

  • Jerusalem in World War I

    Conde de Ballobar

    Edited by Eduardo Manzano Moreno, Roberto Mazza

    When World War I broke out in Europe in the autumn of 1914, a young diplomat was sent to Jerusalem to take charge of the Spanish consulate in the city. Antonio de la Cierva y Lewita, better known as Conde de Ballobar, recorded the events he witnessed and described his experiences and opinions in a unique document that has become an invaluable resource for historians. Ballobar’s diary provides an unparalleled insight into late Ottoman Jerusalem – and the upheavals of wartime life in the city – and includes a detailed account of the battle amongst the local churches over control of the city’s holy places. Also touching upon the spread of Zionism and the establishment of British rule, Ballobar writes as a privileged observer of an exceptionally complex historical period. Available in English for the first time, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars of the late-Ottoman Empire and World War I in the Middle East.

    Antonio de la Cierva y Lewita – Conde de Ballobar and Duque de Terranova

    Antonio de la Cierva y Lewita – Conde de Ballobar and Duque de Terranova – was born in Vienna in 1885 where his father was serving as Spanish military attache. In 1911 Ballobar entered the Spanish consular service and in May 1913 Ballobar was appointed consul in Jerusalem. In 1920 he married Rafaela Osorio de Moscoso and the year after Ballobar resigned his commission as consul and moved back to Spain where he served the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with different assignments. Between 1949 and 1952 he served again as consul in Jerusalem and until 1955 as director of the Obra Pia. Ballobar died in Madrid in 1971 aged 86. Eduardo Manzano Moreno is Research Professor at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) and Director of its Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CCHS). His research has concentrated on the history of Muslim Spain and the political implications of historical memory. While studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, he came across references which led him to identify, locate and publish in Spanish the Diaries of Conde de Ballobar. His recent publications include, ‘The Iberian Peninsula and North Africa’, in The New Cambridge History of Islam; Epocas Medievales and La gestion de la Memoria.Roberto Mazza is Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL. He is also Research Associate in the Department of History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

    Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

    Publication Date: 29 Jun 2015
    Number of Pages: 320
    Height: 216
    Width: 138
    Illustrations: 8pp bw plates

  • Lost Islamic History

    Firas Alkhateeb


    Over the last 1,400 years, a succession of Muslim polities and empires expanded to control territories and peoples stretching from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia. Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientists and theologians, not to mention statesmen and soldiers, have been overlooked. The bestselling Lost Islamic History, now in a new updated edition, rescues from oblivion a forgotten past, charting its narrative from Muhammad to modern-day nation-states.

    Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientists, and theologians, not to mention rulers, statesmen and soldiers, have been occluded. This book rescues from oblivion and neglect some of these personalities and institutions while offering the reader a new narrative of this lost Islamic history. The Umayyads, Abbasids, and Ottomans feature in the story, as do Muslim Spain, the savannah kingdoms of West Africa and the Mughal Empire, along with the later European colonisation of Muslim lands and the development of modern nation-states in the Muslim world. Throughout, the impact of Islamic belief on scientific advancement, social structures, and cultural development is given due prominence, and the text is complemented by portraits of key personalities, inventions and little known historical nuggets. The history of Islam and of the world’s Muslims brings together diverse peoples, geographies, and states, all interwoven into one narrative that begins with Muhammad and continues to this day.

    Table of Contents

      7. UPHEAVAL
      8. AL-ANDALUS
      9. THE EDGE
      10. REBIRTH
      11. DECLINE

    Firaz Alkhateeb


    Firas Alkhateeb holds a Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies with a specialisation in Islamic intellectual history from the University of Chicago. He previously taught Islamic history at Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois and currently teaches and studies at Darul Qasim in Chicago. He founded and writes the website lostislamichistory.com. You can follow him on Twitter as well under @khateeb88

    September 2017 / 9781849046893 • 232pp


  • Rivers Divided

    Daniel Haines

    The Indus Waters Treaty is considered a key example of India–Pakistan cooperation, but less has been said about its critical influence on state-making in both countries. Rivers Divided reveals the importance of the Indus Basin river system, and thus control over it, for Indian and Pakistani claims to sovereignty after South Asia’s Partition in 1947. Securing water flows was a key aim for both governments. In 1960 the Indus Waters Treaty ostensibly settled the dispute, but in fact failed to address critical sources of tension. Examples include the role of water in the Kashmir conflict and the riverine geography of Punjab’s militarised border zone.

    Despite the recent resurgence of disputes over water-sharing in South Asia, the historical causes and consequences of the region’s flagship natural resources treaty remain little understood. Based on new research in South Asia, the United States and United Kingdom, this book places the Indus dispute, for the first time, in the context of decolonisation and Cold War-era development politics. It examines the discord at local, national and international levels, arguing that we can only explain its importance and longevity in light of India and Pakistan’s state-building initiatives after independence.

    Daniel Haines


    Daniel Haines is Lecturer in Environmental History at the University of Bristol. He has previously taught at Royal Holloway, University of London and Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is the author of Building the Empire, Building the Nation: Development, Legitimacy
    and Hydro-Politics in Sind, 1919-1969.



    ‘Competition for water in the Indus Valley has been a major example of competition for this key resource in the modern world. In this outstanding book, Haines demonstrates the local, national and international forces at work in producing the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960. It is a major contribution to the history of both decolonisation and the environment.’ — Francis Robinson, Professor of the History of South Asia, Royal Holloway, University of London

    ‘Through the Subcontinent’s long-running disputes and water-sharing agreements, Haines offers a distinctive, fresh account of how new states emerged in South Asia. Rather than viewing state-building as purely ideological or constitutional, Haines shows how everything—from peasants’ concerns to Cold War development projects—shaped ideas and realities of Indo-Pakistani sovereignty.’ — Faisal Devji, Reader in Indian History, St Antony’s College Oxford and author of Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea

    Rivers Divided deftly takes a history of rivers into the realms of state-building, sovereignty negotiation and national identity. Sensitive to the distinctive post-colonial and Cold War contexts, Haines’ unique contribution lies in addressing longer-term processes, not iconic events, intensively exploiting newly available archives in India, Pakistan, the U.K. and U.S.’ — Philip Brown, Professor of History, Ohio State University

    ‘Both authoritative and accessible, this book is enlightening not only with respect to the background of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, but also on the wider importance of access to water for nation-building in India and Pakistan.’ — Ian Talbot, Professor of Modern British History, University of Southampton and author of Pakistan: A New History

  • Roofstaat

    Ewald Vanvugt

    Roofstaat. Wat iedere Nederlander moet weten behelst de geschiedenis van Nederland in twaalf hoofdstukken. Van de roof- en kruistochten in de middeleeuwen tot de massa-executies in voormalig Nederlandsch-Indië ruim zestig jaar geleden.Wat begon als een essay in de Playboy midden jaren tachtig is uitgegroeid tot hét standaardwerk over de gruweldaden van Nederland door dejaren heen.

    – over de Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC)
    – de West-Indische Compagnie (WIC)
    – de eeuwen van kaapvaart en piraterij
    – de massale mensenhandel in de Oost en de West
    – Pax Neerlandica en de vele Nederlandse aanvalsoorlogen
    – de staatsinkomsten uit opium in Nederlandsch-Indië
    – het geroofde exotische cultuurgoed in de rijksmusea
    – het opiumfortuin van het Nederlandse koningshuis


    856pp / 9789038801278 / paperback

  • The Circassian

    Fortna, Benjamin

    Eşref Kuşçubaşı remains controversial in Turkey over fifty years after his death. Elsewhere the man sometimes called the ‘Turkish Lawrence of Arabia’ is far less known but his life offers fascinating insights into the traumatic, increasingly violent struggles that ended the Ottoman Empire and ushered in the modern Middle East. Drawing on Eşref’s private papers for the first time, these pages tell the story of the making of a headstrong ‘self-sacrificing’ officer committed to defending the empire’s shrinking borders. Eşref took on a string of special assignments for Enver Pasha, the rapidly rising star of the Ottoman military, first in Libya against the Italians, then in the Balkan Wars and World War I, before being captured by the forces of the Arab Revolt and turned over to the British and imprisoned on Malta. Released in 1920, he joined the national resistance movement in Anatolia but fell out with Mustafa Kemal’s leadership and switched sides, earning him banishment from the Turkish Republic at its founding and exile until the 1950s. Never far from the action or controversy, Eşref’s dynamic story provides an important counterpoint to the standard narrative of the transition from empire to nation state.


    Benjamin C. Fortna is Professor and Director, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. His research focus is the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic.


    ‘A highly original and important study. Fortna has found a treasure trove of original documents and handwritten memoirs of one of the leading militants of the Young Turk era. He has been able to combine this  archive with important primary sources from the Ottoman and Turkish military archives as well as from the National Archives in the UK. The result is a unique insider’s view of the traumatic and violent final decade of the Ottoman Empire.’ — Erik-Jan Zürcher, Professor of Turkish Studies, University of Leiden

    ‘Ben Fortna provides us with an honest history, of Eşref’s personal trajectory as much as his entanglements with the many world-historical events of his day. In doing so he helps pave the way toward a more nuanced understanding of the woefully understudied transition from the Ottoman Empire to the modern state of Turkey.’ — Christine Philliou, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolution

    ‘Benjamin Fortna balances deftly the grand sweep of imperial collapse with the immediacy of biography. He explores the motivations and methods of Eşref, a “hard man” of the Young Turk era and notorious activist in the sensational events of the 1908-23 period, offering a rare alternative to the normal “clash-of-nations” depiction of the era. The result is a remarkably absorbing, insightful book.’ — Frederick Anscombe, Head of the Department of History, Birkbeck, University of London; author of State, Faith and Nation in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Lands

    ‘Benjamin Fortna’s book is a major contribution to the history of the under-researched Special Organization (Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa). A biography of a leading CUP self-sacrificing volunteer, Eşref Kuşçubaşı, who occupied significant positions in the organization, The Circassian not only reproduces extremely important and hitherto unused documents and private papers but also draws a much larger picture of Ottoman intelligence and undercover operations during the final years of the empire.’ — M. Şükrü Hanioğlu, Garrett Professor in Foreign Affairs, Princeton University

    ‘Eşref Bey has become a legendary figure, blurring the boundaries between historical reality and popular imagination. It is partly because of this legend and partly because Eşref fought directly opposite another legendary figure that he has been referred to as the Turkish Lawrence of Arabia”. This tag is problematic — Eşref was an Ottoman of Circassian background and, somewhat ironically in the circumstances, he considered T. E. Lawrence as having developed into a legendary figure who far surpassed his historical role—but it is one that has stuck.’ — from Professor Fortna’s Introduction


  • The Commander

    Laila Parsons

    Charming, intelligent, wily and strong-willed, al-Qawuqji’s military career spanned more than four decades and made even Che Guevara appear a little slack. He started as a young officer in the Ottoman army fighting the British in the First World War, where he won an Iron Cross. He went on to help lead a massive uprising against the French in Syria, and assist the Palestinian revolution of 1936 against the British (The Arab Revolt) before he was forced out of Palestine.

    Al-Qawuqji’s military career made even Che Guevara appear a little slack

    His departure was engineered by the Mufti’s people, according to al-Qawuqji himself. Parsons records a note scribbled by him: “There is no doubt that the Mufti wanted us to leave, pressured as he was by the British.” From Palestine, al-Qawuqji crossed the Jordan River with Palestinian rebel leaders to Transjordan. He stayed there until Emir Abdullah, later the first king of Jordan, returned and forced him out of the country.

    The British at this point apparently “wanted him out of Jordan so badly that they were almost willing to escort him to Iraq.” Al-Qawuqji managed to get Abdullah to agree that a unit of the Transjordanian army travel with him to the Iraqi border so British forces would not attack him.

    By the time al-Qawuqji reached Iraq, the British were probably wishing they had attacked him. Certainly, he wasted no time gathering support to launch an insurrection against British rule in Iraq. A 1941 British memorandum notes that al-Qawuqji was proving himself to be “a greater force than had been anticipated,” as he threatened the infrastructure of the Iraq Petroleum Company.

    Just days after the memo was written, al-Qawuqji’s convoy was bombed by the British air force. Al-Qawuqji was seriously wounded and was flown to a hospital in Aleppo and then to Berlin, where 19 bullets and fragments of metal from the car he was traveling in were removed from his body. The surgeon left one bullet in his head, fearful that removing it would cause brain damage.

    With a subject so inspiring and provocative, The Commander never fails to interest. This is a fascinating biography and Parsons chose well not only in selecting a subject who authored a memoir and wrote many letters and diaries, but one who wrote so well. Many of the passages of al-Qawuqji’s writing, for example those describing Berlin at the end of the war, are written with clarity and sensitivity. Parsons’ own writing style is similarly light and pacy, as persuasive as it is measured.

    A timely addition

    The Commander is a book as much for the lay reader as for the historian of Palestine. It can be read cover to cover as a well-told story of an adventurous life, with battles fought and visions formed and lost. But it is also an invaluable reference tool.

    The portrait of al-Qawuqji is a timely addition to a growing body of positive narratives of 20th century Arab heroism as well as a clear-eyed assessment as to how those narratives were deliberately distorted by Western commentators – from historians to photographers (the fifth chapter’s comparison of photos of Arab and Jewish soldiers in 1948 is stunning in this respect).

    A comparison between al-Qawuqji and the Mufti is inevitable, particularly given their connections to Nazi Germany. “One could argue that the Mufti’s active and enthusiastic support of Nazi ideology has done more to discredit the Palestinian cause than any other actions by a Palestinian nationalist,” Parsons writes. In contrast, she adds, al-Qawuqji, “by ridiculing the Mufti … attempt[ed] to distance himself from the stigma of those years in Berlin.”

    Not a comfortable read for those who believe in the leadership of Mufti Amin Al Husayni

    The book is not a comfortable read for those who believe in the Mufti’s leadership of the Palestinian cause during the most critical juncture in Palestinian history, and al-Qawuqji’s loathing of Haj Amin al-Husseini is clear in the notes left by him, describing him at one point as “a danger to everyone and universally disliked.”

    Most important, from a Palestinian perspective, are the sections on the 1936 revolution and the 1948 war. Both cast a critical light on the actions of the Mufti, as do the revelations regarding the freezing out of al-Qawuqji that occurred in Berlin.

    Prior to and during the 1948 war, al-Qawuqji is shown to have been given preferential treatment by other Arab leaders over the Mufti, most notably at the October 1947 Conference in Aley, Lebanon, which he, and not the Mufti, was invited to attend (the Mufti was compelled to show up uninvited, frustrated at the lack of Palestinian participation). Parsons is clear when it came to 1948: the Arabs generally were up against significant forces, referring to the work of Palestinian historian Aref al-Aref’s finding that “the Jewish Agency in Palestine was ready to field at least 20,000 well-trained and well-armed troops, with many more in reserve. In addition, the Zionists had well-developed lines of communications and were recruiting volunteers and receiving other forms of financial and logistical support from Europe and America.”

    A British diplomat gleefully records that “Qawuqji is completely at odds with the Mufti [which] therefore suggests the possibility of two independent and mutually antipathetic Arab guerrilla gangs in Palestine when the situation deteriorates.”

    Parsons is careful, however, to explain that the rivalry between the Mufti and al-Qawuqji is not the main explanation for the Arab failure to defeat the Zionists. The tendency to lay blame on that division stems from the Arab side being so traumatized by the outcome of the war.

    In the final chapter of the book, Parsons attempts to “convey the complexity and detail of what happened between them, while at the same time not downplaying the negative political and military effects of their relationship. By this is meant the negative effects for the Palestinians, who suffered most because of the Arab defeat.”

    In Qawuqji’s life story we find the origins of today’s turmoil in the Arab Middle East

    In this well-crafted, definitive biography, Laila Parsons tells Qawuqji’s dramatic story and sets it in the full context of his turbulent times. Following Israel’s decisive victory, Qawuqji was widely faulted as a poor commander with possibly dubious motives. Parsons shows us that the truth was more complex: Although he doubtless made some strategic mistakes, he never gave up fighting for Arab independence a

    Laila Parsons

    nd unity, even as those ideals were undermined by powers inside and outside the Arab world. In Qawuqji’s life story we find the origins of today’s turmoil in the Arab Middle East.


    Laila Parsons is an associate professor of history and Islamic studies at McGill University. She is the author of The Druze Between Palestine and Israel, 1947-49


    Well-researched, presenting and analyzing many sources on this essential period of Arab history which were not previously available in English, The Commander is a lively read that is not short of depth nor contemporary importance. – Selma Dabbagh, British-Palestinian writer (Out of It).


    July 2016 / hardback /  316pp /  9780863561655

  • What it Means to be Palestinian

    Dina Matar

    “What It Means to be Palestinian” is a narrative of narratives, a collection of personal stories, remembered feelings and reconstructed experiences by different Palestinians whose lives were changed and shaped by history. Their stories are told chronologically through particular phases of the Palestinian national struggle, providing a composite autobiography of Palestine as a landscape and as a people. The book begins with the 1936 revolt against British rule in Palestine and ends in 1993, with the Oslo peace agreement that changed the nature and form of the national struggle. It is based on in-depth interviews and conversations with Palestinians, male and female, old and young, rich and poor, religious and secular, in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Occupied Territories. Presented as remembered personal narratives and as ‘social’ histories, these conversations provide a deep & intimate account of what it means to be Palestinian in the 21st century.


    Dina Matar is lecturer in Arab Media and International Political Communication at the Centre for Film and Media Studies, the School of Oriental and African Studies. She was formerly a foreign correspondent and editor covering the Middle East, Europe and Africa. She is also a co-editor of the ‘Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication’.


    These are accounts of ordinary people who have striven through the harrowing experience of war and futile negotiation, searching for a life and a place that the rest of the world will respect and protect.
    – Jon Snow

    Dina Matar’s book presents fragments of memory: of self, people and a vanishing landscape from a lost past whose voices ring painfully in the present. This is a book of discovery, conviction and a labour of love that will appeal to a wide readership.
    – Yasir Suleiman, Professor of Modern Arabic Studies and Head of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, King’s College, Cambridge


    Table of contents

    • Introduction
    • Chapter One: Palestine as a Landscape and a People: On the road to Nakba
    • Chapter Two: Living the Nakba: In the Perilous Territory of not-Belonging
    • Chapter Three: Between Romance and Tragedy
    • Chapter Four: Living the Revolution: Living the Occupation
    • Chapter Five: Children of the Stone: Living the first intifada
    • Epilogue
    • Bibliography
    • Index

    Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.

    Paperback / 9781848853638 / 29 Oct 2010 / 224pages & Illustrations

  • White Innocence

    Gloria Wekker

    In White Innocence Gloria Wekker explores a central paradox of Dutch culture: the passionate denial of racial discrimination and colonial violence coexisting alongside aggressive racism and xenophobia. Accessing a cultural archive built over 400 years of Dutch colonial rule, Wekker fundamentally challenges Dutch racial exceptionalism by undermining the dominant narrative of the Netherlands as a “gentle” and “ethical” nation. Wekker analyzes the Dutch media’s portrayal of black women and men, the failure to grasp race in the Dutch academy, contemporary conservative politics (including gay politicians espousing anti-immigrant rhetoric), and the controversy surrounding the folkloric character Black Pete, showing how the denial of racism and the expression of innocence safeguards white privilege. Wekker uncovers the postcolonial legacy of race and its role in shaping the white Dutch self, presenting the contested, persistent legacy of racism in the country


    Gloria Wekker is Professor Emeritus of Gender Studies at Utrecht University and the author of several books, including The Politics of Passion: Women’s Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora.

    “Refreshingly innovative, conceptually sophisticated, and compellingly argued. . . . The outcome of a lifetime spent in the theoretical and political trenches, White Innocence breaks entirely new ground.” – Jacqui Alexander

    “Gloria Wekker’s patient anatomization of the Dutch racial order is a major contribution to the growing global conversation about whiteness and its overcoming. Her authoritative survey of the willful innocence that underpins racism in the Netherlands should be widely read and studied.” – Paul Gilroy

    White Innocence is a major contribution that provides us with new and distinct methods for investigating the cultural archives of colonialism, showing how they are at once national archives that include written documents and accumulated impressions, encounters, and experiences. Gloria Wekker takes the trouble of creating an itinerary of expressions of whiteness as innocence. It is a powerful itinerary. This book will reach out to readers, and draw them in.” – Sara Ahmed

    240 pages / 9780822360759 / April 2016

  • Who Killed Hammarskjöld?

    Williams, Susan

    The death of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld remains one of the biggest mysteries of the twentieth century. Shortly after midnight on 18 September 1961, an aircraft carrying Hammarskjöld and his UN team crashed into dark forest in the British colony of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), abruptly ending his mission to bring peace to the Congo. Many around the world suspected sabotage, pointing the finger at Britain, Belgium, the USA, and South Africa, as well as the huge multinationals with mining interests in the region. These suspicions have never gone away. A man who cared deeply about social justice, Hammarskjöld sought to shield the newly-independent nations from the predatory aims of the Great Powers. His enemies included colonialists and settlers in Africa who were determined to maintain white minority rule. In Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, Susan Williams carefully navigates a mass of secret documents and witness testimonies suggesting a massive cover-up, to present a case which has already triggered a new investigation by the United Nations.


    Susan Williams has published widely on Africa, decolonisation and the global power shifts of the twentieth century. Her widely acclaimed book on the founding president of Botswana, Colour Bar (Penguin, 2006), recently became a major motion picture (A United Kingdom). Who Killed Hammarskjöld? (2011) triggered a fresh UN inquiry into the death of the secretary general. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London.


  • Wit is ook een kleur

    Sunny Bergman

    Sunny Bergman wil weten waarom veel witte mensen zich verongelijkt voelen of zelfs boos worden als het over racisme en witte privileges gaat. Op welke manier kleurt wit zijn het denken? Op zoek naar antwoorden ontleedt Sunny Bergman in Wit is ook een kleur de moraal van de ‘weldenkende’ elite.

    Vooralsnog worden in het racismedebat de problemen gemakshalve neergelegd bij immigranten. Omdat ze niet goed zouden integreren. Of bij lager opgeleide PVV-stemmers. Omdat zij racistische denkbeelden hebben. Maar wat kleurt de blik van witte hoger opgeleiden, die het morele gelijk aan hun zijde denken te hebben en menen dat kleur er niet toe doet? Slagen zij erin om hun kinderen ‘kleurenblind’ op te voeden? Bergman neemt de proef op de som. In het opmerkelijke ‘black doll/white doll’-experiment wordt gekeken naar de keuzes die kleuters maken tussen zwart en wit. De jonge deelnemertjes, nog niet getraind in het geven van sociaal wenselijke antwoorden, blijken ongeacht hun eigen kleur dezelfde keuzes te maken en stellen de witte pop stelselmatig boven de zwarte pop. Zo vindt bijvoorbeeld 75 procent de witte pop het slimste.

    De witte kijk op de geschiedenis

    Volgens Philomena Essed, hoogleraar in Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies, is het is logisch dat de kinderen deze keuzes maken. Het weerspiegelt wat kinderen dagelijks al om zich heen zien: in films, literatuur en in het onderwijs zijn de slimme helden altijd wit. In dit kader onderzoekt Bergman ook de witte kijk op de geschiedenis en onze helden van weleer, zoals Michiel de Ruyter, in hun rol van onderdrukker. Hoe gaan we om met deze kantelende blik? Het valt Bergman op dat een groot deel van de witte hoger opgeleiden ervan uitgaat dat de westerse cultuur en beschavingsnormen een voorbeeld zijn voor de rest van de wereld die zich daarnaar zou moeten voegen. ‘Door ervan uit te gaan dat jouw waarden algemeen geldende neutrale waarden zijn, verhef je jezelf moreel en cultureel boven anderen’, stelt Bergman. Zij ziet bewustwording van deze superioriteit als een eerste stap naar een veranderende, brede blik op een kleurrijke samenleving.

    In haar zoektocht naar antwoorden op de vraag hoe kleur ons beïnvloedt in ons doen en laten, neemt Bergman ook zichzelf onder de loep en loopt ze voorop in een experiment dat privileges op basis van kleur meet. Sinds zij zich publiekelijk inzet tegen racisme in Nederland, komt zij veel boze witte mensen tegen. Nieuwsgierig naar wat er ten grondslag ligt aan de boosheid en verontwaardiging van witte mensen zodra het over racisme gaat, voert ze confronterende telefoongesprekken met mensen die haar via Facebook uitscholden of bedreigden in reactie op haar publiekelijke uitspraken tegen zwarte piet in het bijzonder en racisme in het algemeen.

    Bergman ziet een verband tussen de woede en het zelfbeeld van witte mensen. ‘Gevoelens van superioriteit passen niet in ons zelfbeeld. Dat we genieten van witte privileges en gekleurde mensen oneerlijk behandelen, op hen neerkijken of beledigen evenmin’, aldus Bergman. ‘Met iets waarvan we menen dat het niet bestaat, willen we niet geconfronteerd worden. De morele en culturele verhevenheid die veel witte mensen met zich meedragen is uiteindelijk een handicap.’

    Sunny Bergman

    Sunny Bergman is documentairemaakster, activiste en schrijfster, maar vooral een vrouw met een kritische blik, die haar oog laat vallen op zaken als stereotypering, emancipatie, vooroordelen en seks en cultuur. Ze maakte spraakmakende films voor de VPRO over thema’s als zwarte piet en racisme (Zwart als roet, 2014), de schoonheidsmythe (Beperkt houdbaar, 2007) en vrouwen en seks (Sletvrees, boek en film 2013). Daarnaast gooit ze tweewekelijks voor vpro.nl de knuppel in het hoenderhok. Daar en op social media vergaarde ze met haar scherp geformuleerde columns inmiddels een grote schare volgers en fans. Tegelijk met haar nieuwe film Wit is ook een kleur – een onderzoek naar haar eigen etniciteit – verschijnt nu een bundeling van Bergmans beste columns. Wordt het niet eens tijd voor een verkiezing van de meest feministische man? Geldt de vrijheid van meningsuiting wel of niet onverkort voor mensen met een dubbel paspoort? Hoe problematisch is wit zijn, en wat hebben feminisme en anti-racisme met elkaar gemeen? Wit is ook een kleur is een intelligente, moedige en prikkelende staalkaart van ideeën, vragen en analyses die iedereen aangaat – zeker nu.

    9789038803050 / 144pp / paperback / dec 2016