The If Man

Dr Leander Starr Jameson, the Inspiration for Kipling's Masterpiece

Chris Ash

The famous poem, If 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.
Publication date:
February 2012
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Language:
English
Illustration :
40 b/w photos, ills, maps
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Paperback
ISBN : 9781907677748

Dimensions : 234 X 156 cm
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£21.95
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ISBN : 9781908916747

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Overview
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• A rollicking biography of Dr Leander Starr Jameson; hero, rogue and rascal of Empire and the man who inspired Kipling to write his masterpiece, If

The famous poem, If 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.”

About the Author
A British Colonial and ex-Gordon Highlander, Chris Ash has spent much of his life in Africa, usually drilling for oil in the least pleasant places. Blessed with a love of adventure, Chris drove his Land Rover from London to Cape Town and decided to stay when he was 24. His passion for Victorian history was sparked by watching Zulu and Breaker Morrant as a child, and stoked by a drunken argument with an irate Afrikaner in Pietersburg.

REVIEWS

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 War

The 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