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The If Man


The If Man

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    Available in PDF Format | The If Man.pdf | English
    Chris Ash(Author)
* A rollicking biography of Dr Leander Starr Jameson; hero, rogue and rascal of Empire and the man who inspired Kipling to write this masterpiece, If This famous poem by Rudyard Kipling is said to be based on the life of Jameson, and the suffering he endured as a result of the 1896 raid that he and his Rhodesian and Bechuanaland policemen carried out on Paul Kruger's Transvaal Republic. In this engaging biography in the style of Wilbur Smith-meets-Louis l'Amour, Ash recounts the life of this colonial statesman known as 'Dr Jim' or simply 'The Doctor'. He was an enigmatic man. When he died The Times estimated that his astonishing personal sway over his followers was equalled only by that of Parnell, the Irish patriot. Although probably most known for his role in 'The Jameson Raid', Jameson still had a successful political life. He died on 26 November 1917 in London. His body was laid in a vault at Kensal Green Cemetery where it remained until the end of the First World War. Ian Colvin (1923) writes that Jameson's body was then ...carried to Rhodesia and on 22 May 1920, laid in a grave cut in the granite on the top of the mountain which Rhodes had called 'The View of the World', close beside the grave of his friend. A"

Dr Jameson was a very remarkable man - an unashamed creator and risk-taker who understood the true meaning of loyalty - and in Chris Ash he has found his ideal biographer. --Andrew Roberts, bestselling author of The History of the English-speaking Peoples and The Storm of WarThe book is much more than a biography - there is extensive history of southern Africa to be gleaned here... In all, Jameson's life was so extraordinary it could read like a Wilbur Smith novel, which is no bad thing. It may be hard to view Jameson as a hero in these politically correct times, but Chris has done a great job in making his work an entertaining read and I heartily recommend it. --Geoffrey Hay, The Shetland TimesIn this book, Chris Ash provides context and balance to Dr Jameson's actions, and reading this excellent biography of a fascinating individual one can begin to understand better the man who inspired Rudyard Kipling. --Soldiers of the Queen --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Book details

  • PDF | 384 pages
  • Chris Ash(Author)
  • 30° South Publishers (1 Mar. 2012)
  • English
  • 10
  • Biography
Read online or download a free book: The If Man

Review Text

  • By Rosie/Eric Whitley on 27 August 2017

    For too long the politically correct have denigrated and even scandalized some of Britain's greatest. In this outstandingly well written and researched book Chris Ash sets the record straight. Although far from perfect, Dr Jameson is shown to have a tremendous spirit of adventure which was the mark of most of the people who helped make Britain a great trading nation. He also points out that the same was true of Cecil Rhodes. Many aspects of South Africa's tribal wars and more particularly the Boer war are covered. The author also addresses the constant knocking of the British Empire reminding people it was often a force for good.Going back to Dr Jameson - we see someone who in Kiplings famous words met with triumph and disaster and treated those two imposters just the same!

  • By Guest on 21 November 2016

    In this carefully researched biography of Dr Jameson, who inspired Rudyard Kipling's popular poem 'IF', and who today is generally portrayed as being second only to Cecil Rhodes as one of the great villains of the British Empire, the author has succeeded in providing the reader with a book which is a delight to read while at the same time demolishing many of the myths which have been created to bolster political causes.Jameson was one of the great adventurers of an age in which men would embark on hazardous enterprises which in our more cautious times would never be considered. With this Jameson possessed a pleasing personality which won over all who met him including many who had regarded him as a mortal enemy, among whom was the Boer leader and future Prime Minister of South Africa, General Louis Botha.Soon after he qualified as a doctor Jameson decided to try his luck in the Empire and in 1878 he arrived at the diamond fields of Kimberley in the arid South African interior. In the rough mining community he soon established a reputation as an excellent doctor who had adapted to life in his new country. In a society in which there was no electronic entertainment most people played cards and Jameson was a highly talented poker player and was soon supplementing his income with his winnings. If he had gone to America rather than Africa he would no doubt have become one ofthe famous figures of the Wild West. Instead he met and became a friend of Cecil Rhodes, who had already made a rapidly increasing fortune and was beginning to think of expanding the British Empire.Rhodes is often criticised for his stated belief that the British were the best people to colonise Africa. His critics fail to take into account that he was not comparing the British with all other people in the world but with those countries participating in the 'Scramble for Africa'. Germany stands accused of the genocide of the Hereros in Namibia, the Belgians of their cruel economic exploitation of the peoples of the Congo, the Portugese for their tolerance of slavery, the Boers for their tolerance of slavery and their insistence that black peoples be kept in a continuing state of subservience. Rhodes and Jameson believed that slavery should not be tolerated and that education was the key which would enable the peoples of Africa to compete in the modern world.In this detailed and interesting account of the founding of the colony of Rhodesia the reader is left in no doubt that the abolition of slavery was one of the primary motives guiding its founders. Of course they also sought ways in which a viable economy might be created for the nascent State, mining and agriculture being the obvious choices.By the late 1880s the Boers were showing an interest in annexing the land to the north of their border along the Limpopo River, The country was inhabited by the Mashona peoples, who were being constantly terrorised by their warlike neighbours, the Matabele. Rhodes decided to block the Boer plans by annexing Mashonaland for the British. By October 1890 a pioneer column which included Jameson had established a fort at Salisbury (now Harare).Salisbury was about 1400 miles from the rail terminus at Kimberley which in turn was 600 miles from the harbour at Cape Town. The Indian Ocean lay a mere 350 miles to the east and though some of the land was claimed by the Portugal, Jameson decided a short cut to the sea might be feasible. So on 5 October, 1890 he with three companions, set out to reconnoitre a route to the sea. Naked, starving and riddled with fever, they reached the sea near the present day port of Sofala (Beira). This journey alone would have provided adequate inspiration for Kipling's poem.Sent back to Salisbury by Rhodes, Jameson established a sound administration and was able to curtail the raid, slaughter and slave-trading to which the Mashona peoples had been subjected to for generations.In 1895 Jameson committed what he admitted was the greatest mistake of his life. In an attempt to provoke a coup d'etat in the Transvaal Republic, whose government was guilty of appalling human rights abuses. Jameson led a raiding column into the Transvaal. Those his motives might have had some merit, it was certainly the wrong way to approach the problem. Jameson sand his column were forced to surrender. Chris Ash gives a detailed account of the affair, Jameson's trial and imprisonment in England, his rehabilitation and subsequent election as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony.Ash also draws attention to the manner in which the history of those times has been distorted by unscrupulous writers quoting part of a statement, where the quotation in full would create an entirely different impressionLong before Rhodes or Jameson arrived in Africa, the British were trying to suppress the slave trade in East Africa. It is refreshing to find this aspect of Victorian history being drawn to the attention of the reader. Perhaps a little more emphasis.

  • By Charles Walmsley on 20 May 2013

    Dr Jameson worked alongside Cecil Rhodes in opening up parts of Southern Africa. He was a true colonial and anti the Boers. His attempt at organising a revolt against them failed and as a result he had to return to England where he was tried and convicted. Whilts in England, Marcone demonstrated Radiotelegraphy to him with one end of the link in what is now my garden which is why I am inteested in him. This book appears to paint a rose timted view of the man

  • By GaryM on 15 October 2012

    Chris Ash tells this tale beautifully, a very interesting man who led a very gung-Ho lifestyle, I will recommend this book to all my friends.

  • By simon on 25 February 2013

    I found this book reasonably well written about parts of the life of a giant in Southern African history.I realise that the underlying subject was Rudyard Kipling's poem "If", But I do think a bit more information about the life of Starr Jameson would have been appropriate.

  • By Fred Selous on 12 January 2015

    A detailed and authoritative bio of Jameson that is easy and enjoyable to read.

  • By Jill Johnson on 14 July 2015

    Well researched, well-written and informative. Jameson is a courageous intrepid adventurer, a fine example of a real man who achieves remarkable things in the face of great odds. It is refreshing that the author does not mince his words about those who make foolish politically-correct decisions - like many of our politicians today!

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