Knowing my thoughts on our current struggle with the religion of peace, a friend sent an email to me containing the following quote from a book written by Winston S.Churchill more than one hundred years ago:
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome. [The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan (1899), Volume II pp. 248-250, from Wikiquote]"
This tidbit lead me on a search for a copy of the book. To my surprise, my local public library does not have a copy. But, then again, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised.
At any rate, I went to Amazon.com and found the book. As much as I want to read the book, I'm not willing to shell out twenty eight dollars (plus) for the hard cover edition; cheapskate that I am, even the ten bucks for the paperback was more than I wanted to spend. So, Project Gutenberg came to the rescue. A copy of The River War can be found here.
Reading the first paragraph, I was hooked. This is the sort of book that could only have been written in the days before movies, radio and television. Written at a time when the public expected a book to be well written, this book entertains from the very start.
As much as I dislike reading books online ( I really do prefer the feel of having a book in hand ) I'm finding it very difficult to put this one down - so to speak. I'm only stopping long enough to write this miserable piece for the blog, then I'm back to it.