HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Like Hidden Fire: The Plot to Bring Down the British Empire

by Peter Hopkirk

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
305662,542 (3.88)2
A GRIPPING STORY OF IMPERIAL AMBITION, SWASHBUCKLING ADVENTURE, AND THE KAISER'S OWN JIHAD. An acclaimed historian tells, for the first time, the full story of the conspiracy between the Germans and the Turks to unleash a Muslim holy war against the British in India and the Russians in the Caucasus. Drawing on recently opened intelligence files and rare personal accounts, Peter Hopkirk skillfully reconstructs the Kaiser's bold plan and describes the exploits of the secret agents on both sides--disguised variously as archaeologists, traders, and circus performers--as they sought to foment or foil the uprising and determine the outcome of World War I.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia by Peter Hopkirk (Dimitrios)
  2. 00
    God's Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad by Charles Allen (Luchtpint)
  3. 00
    Iran at war, 1500-1988 by Kaveh Farrokh (Luchtpint)
  4. 00
    Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid (Luchtpint)
  5. 00
    The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers by Peter Tomsen (Luchtpint)
  6. 00
    Greenmantle by John Buchan (DuncanHill)
    DuncanHill: In "On Secret Service East of Constantinople", Hopkirk tells the true story of "Greenmantle" - that is, of Germany's attempt in the First World War to ignite a Holy War in the East against Britain. If Buchan's heroics seem far-fetched at times to modern readers, they are as nothing to those of the real people involved.… (more)
  7. 00
    Setting the East Ablaze : Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia by Peter Hopkirk (Luchtpint)
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Fascinating, but really yoked two totally separate subjects into one book. ( )
  AldusManutius | Jul 5, 2020 |
Fantastically well written book on a piece of history unknown to many.
Helps one to understand the complexity of this area's people.
A MUST READ ( )
  busterrll | Mar 19, 2017 |
One of my favourite historians, Peter Hopkirk, wrote “On Secret Service east of Constantinople” (1994), about joint German and Turkish efforts to stir up revolution in India as part of a WWI strategy to weaken the British Empire. Iran, because of its location in between the war mongering parties, features in a secondary role in the book. The country comes across, at the time, as a rather weak entity that cannot make up its mind who to support, the British or the Germans, but for understanding Iran, or Persia, this book doesn’t contribute much. Which is also not Mr. Hopkirk’s objective, rather, he is, like with so many other of his books, focused on the threat to India, from the Germans, the Turks, the Afghans and the Russians, as well as from internal dissent from Indian revolutionaries. To be fair, I found this one of the lesser books of Hopkirk, perhaps partly because it was written very much from a British perspective, which in this case doesn’t work well, and doesn’t provide an objective enough view of the challenges faced by all parties. The largest part of the book deals with the various spy plots, covert operations and associated bribery at all levels of the political spectrum, all within the larger framework of WWI as well as the Russian revolution. Read it for the broader historical context, but not for better understanding Iran. ( )
2 vote theonearmedcrab | May 16, 2016 |
Peter Hopkirk has written extensively on the efforts of the British Empire to maintain its control of the Indian subcontinent from incursions from the north and west. In Like Hidden Fire, he traces the clandestine efforts of Germany and Turkey in the First World War to sabotage Britain's ability to wage war by fomenting jihad in its Empire.

The Germans thought that they, aided by the Muslim Turks, could persuade or bribe the Emir of Afghanistan to invade India. They hoped the Afghans would be joined by their numerous co-religionists in India to revolt against British rule. They would thus divert numerous British soldiers from the Western Front in Europe. The British Indian Army at the time drew most of its sepoys [Indians employed as soldiers in the service of the British] from Muslim subjects rather than from the more peaceful Hindus. Indeed, a substantial sepoy revolt had taken place in 1854, and the loyalty of the Muslim soldiers was always a bit suspect, particularly if they were called upon by their infidel (British) officers to fight other Muslims.

The problem the Germans faced was that there was no easy or obvious way to get to or even communicate with Afghanistan. There was not even a telegraph line between either Turkey or Germany and Afghanistan. The British and the Russians pretty much controlled Persia [modern day Iran], blocking the overland route from eastern Turkey. Only through the stupendous efforts of Captain Oskar von Niedermayer and Captain Werner von Hentig, who rode horseback across the Persian desert, were the Germans able to contact the Emir and enlist his assistance. Throughout their entire trek, the British and Russians (who had been alerted of their mission by spies) were on their heels.

The Emir of Afghanistan proved to be a wily trader, who apparently prized his annual stipend from the British in India above religious fervor. Nothing came of the German mission, despite its heroics.

The next threat to the British Empire came in the form of a Turkish invasion of the Caucasus with the goal of obtaining the oil of Baku. The first Turkish efforts were turned back by the tsarist armies of Russia, but after the collapse of the tsarist empire in 1917, the Bolsheviks failed to stop the Turks. Hopkirk vividly describes the confusing and complex state of affairs in the region between the Black and Caspian Seas as Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Turkomen, and Bolsheviks tried to sort out their mutual enmities to decide whether they wanted to stop the Turkish onslaught. Meanwhile, the British did their best with meager resources to induce the tribesmen and the Russians (many of whom despised the Bolsheviks) to oppose the Turks.

Although the geographical territory covered in the narrative is immense, the number of protagonists involved in the struggle is remarkably small. The British efforts were conducted by a handful of adventurous intelligence officers and only a few thousand troops. Ultimately, the fate of the area was determined more by events in Europe, involving millions of men, than the few on the scene. By the time the Turks took Baku, the Germans and Ottomans had been defeated in Europe. Even though the Armenians and non-Bolshevik Russians (aided by the British) were able to chase the Bolsheviks from the area in 1918, the Bolsheviks returned in 1920 to stay for 70 years.

Evaluation: An engaging story, well told, about exotic lands. ( )
3 vote nbmars | Jan 9, 2010 |
A superb spy history about the german attempt to destroy the English Empire in the Great War.
  Kerbuskaya | Jul 27, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To the memory of my mother, who some fifty years ago read me John Buchan's Greenmantle, the true story of which I have told here
First words
In the summer of 1914, when Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany realised that he had gravely miscalculated, and that a bloody showdown with Britain was unavoidable, he vowed to unleash against her a Holy War which would destroy her power in the East for ever.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
A GRIPPING STORY OF IMPERIAL AMBITION, SWASHBUCKLING ADVENTURE, AND THE KAISER'S OWN JIHAD. An acclaimed historian tells, for the first time, the full story of the conspiracy between the Germans and the Turks to unleash a Muslim holy war against the British in India and the Russians in the Caucasus. Drawing on recently opened intelligence files and rare personal accounts, Peter Hopkirk skillfully reconstructs the Kaiser's bold plan and describes the exploits of the secret agents on both sides--disguised variously as archaeologists, traders, and circus performers--as they sought to foment or foil the uprising and determine the outcome of World War I.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.88)
0.5
1 2
1.5
2 3
2.5
3 7
3.5 4
4 16
4.5 2
5 14

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 151,401,801 books! | Top bar: Always visible