Letters from the Crimea, the Danube and Armenia: August 18, 1854, to November 17, 1858

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This volume of letters was published in 1884, when General Gordon (1833-85) was engaged in the controversial defence of Khartoum that claimed his life the following year. The reputation of 'Chinese' Gordon, a complex figure, unpopular with the British government and military but adored by the people and press, was fed by works such as this. Covering his time in the Crimea as a young lieutenant, and later in the drawing up of the new frontiers between the Russian and Ottoman empires, these letters were published by his later biographer, Demetrius C. Boulger (1853-1928) as evidence of Gordon's strength of character and value as a military leader. One reviewer noted in them an 'indomitable cheerfulness of disposition, patient endurance, trustful fatalism, simple courage and faith, ...[and] single-hearted devotion to duty', words which reflected the popular view of Gordon as a symbol of British national pride and imperial honour.