Book Review: The British Imperial Army in the Middle East: Morale and Military Identity in the Sinai and Palestine Campaigns, 1916-18


by James E. Kitchen

London / New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. Pp. xiv, 304. Illus., maps, figures, notes, biblio., index. $112.00. ISBN: 1472505271

British, Colonial, and Commonwealth Troops on Campaign in the Middle East

The British Imperial Army in the Middle East is not exactly a history of the British campaigns in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, although in reading it one will certainly further one’s understanding of those events.  Rather than a campaign study, Kitchen, a Senior Lecturer at Sandhurst, gives us a looks at the soldiers’ experiences in the campaign.  He reminds us that the “British Army” in the theatre was actually made up not only of Britons (whether English or Irish or Welsh or Scottish), but also the ANZACs from Australia and New Zealand, and Indians of many languages, cultures, and faiths, all working together on imperial service. 

Kitchen examines how each of these groups, with their different cultural, religious, and social background, understood and experienced the campaign and internalized those perceptions and experiences.  Kitchen also provides some insights into why, although it played a decisive role in the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the campaign is oddly less well remembered or commemorated than others in the war, such as Gallipoli

In giving us this interesting look at the campaign and the men who fought it, The British Imperial Army in the Middle East, a volume in the Bloomsbury series “War, Culture, and Society,” is an excellent contribution to the literature of the Great War. 

Note: The British Imperial Army in the Middle East is also available as a pdf, ISBN 978-1-4725-1131-7, and an e-pub, ISBN 978-1-4725-0928-4


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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