Greenmantle -- WWI Germans Plot to Restore the Caliphate [2 x 60min]


In a March 2004 book review in The Atlantic, Christopher Hitchens recommended that we could learn more about Islamic fundamentalism by reading John Buchan's novel Greenmantle than by reading most of the post-9/11 glut of books on Islam. And in July 2005, following the London tube and bus bombings, the BBC cancelled its broadcast of Greenmantle because of its"unsuitable and insensitive" theme. Though Buchan (1875–1940) is now best known for his early-20c novels about British secret agent Richard Hannay -- the first of the 'spy' genre -- including The Thirty-Nine Steps, he was a classicist at Oxford, a government administrator in South Africa after the Boer War, editor of The Spectator and war correspondent in France for The Times, when he also worked for British intelligence. Later he was president of the Scottish Historical Society, Member of Parliament for the Scottish Universities, a Director both of Reuters and of the publishing house Thomas Nelson's, and may have continued his involvement with British intelligence. He ended his career as Governor-General of Canada, from 1935 to his death in 1940 after signing Canada's entry into World War II, and was created Baron Tweedsmuir. In Patricia Hannah's 2-hour dramatisation of Buchan's novel Greenmantle, it's 1915 and Maj. Richard Hannay is summoned to Britain's War Office, where Sir Walter Bullivant briefs him on a German plot to start a Muslim Holy War to re-establish the Caliphate. Greenmantle -- a prophet foretold in myth and now become flesh -- is rumoured to be preparing to lead a great Islamic army against the infidel English. If an uprising takes place, it could draw Allied troops away from the European front. Only Hannay can foil Germany's deadly plan for imperial domination but, to do so, he must cross war-torn Europe and enemy territory. For the first 60-minute episode, click the"Listen again to this programme" button; for the second 60-minute episode, click the"27 December 2005" link.
Read entire article at BBC Radio 4 "Classic Serial"

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