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  The Boer War
The Boer War

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Our Price: AU$35.00 Inc GST
Media: BOOK - paperback, 704 pages
Author: T. Pakenham
Year: (1979) 2007
Other Data: b&w photos, sketches, maps, bibliog, index
ISBN: 9780349104669

Availability: Usually Ships in 2 to 4 Weeks
Product Code: LIT001

First printed in 1979 and constantly in and out print of since then, Thomas Pakenham's 'The Boer War' is not only a masterpiece of military history, but has become one of the classics on the topic.

Working over unexamined archives, and talking to survivors, Pakenham casts new light on the origins and the course of the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902, from which modern South Africa derives. He reveals a link between Milner, the governor-general who provoked the war, and Rhodes and Beit, the gold-mine owners who wanted to profit from it; he explains the quarrels between the British generals, who fought each other when they had time to spare from fighting the Boers; he helps to rehabilitate Buller, whom he shows at least to have done his best; and he emphasizes the importance of the black inhabitants, who provided a fifth of the war's 60,000-odd dead, and have been ignored in many previous works on the subject.

The war declared by the Boers on 11 October 1899 gave the British, as Kipling said, "no end of a lesson". It proved to be the longest, the costliest, the bloodiest and the most humiliating campaign that Britain fought between 1815 and 1914. Thomas Pakenham has written a full-scale history of the war, based on first-hand and largely unpublished sources ranging from the private papers of the leading protagonists to the recollections of survivors from both sides.

In the course of his long narrative,  Thomas Pakenham skillfully maps out the causes, the course and the after-effects of the war. He examines the actions of the leading personalities on both sides, and carefully traces the transformation of the conflict into a war of attrition. Among the book's many strengths are Pakenham's use of unpublished and even some previously unconsulted sources (including some 52 veterans whom he interviewed); his vivid descriptions of military engagements and his attention to ways and means, from the "smokeless, long-range, high velocity, small-bore magazine bullet" to "the Boers' secret weapon, the spade"; and, perhaps most notably, his focus on the "invisible" black majority, which suffered at the hands of both sides during the war and saw its political rights sold out at the peace. Pakenham also offers a number of key reinterpretations. This is an intelligent, vigorous, firmly grounded presentation - and, self-evidently, the new standard work. - [description partially taken from  review on]

List of Maps
Historical Note
Prologue: Rhodes's Big Idea

Part 1: Milner's War
1. Out of the Abyss: SS 'Scot' and South Africa, 18 November 1898 and Before
2. Nods and Winks: London, 22 November-December 1898
3. Champagne for the Volk: Pretoria, 23-29 December 1898
4. 'Voetsak': Johannesburg, 23 December 1898-28 March 1899
5. 'Working up Steam': Cape Town, 31 March-9 May 1899
6. 'It is Our Country You Want': The Orange Free State, 30 May-6 June 1899
7. Milner's Three Questions: Pall Mall, London, 8 June-19 July 1899
8. Preparing for a Small War: Cape Town, London and Natal, 20 July-7 October 1899
9. The Ultimatum: Pretoria and the Transvaal, 1-12 October 1899
10. Bursting the Mould: Cape Town and Ladysmith, 14-20 October 1899

Part 2: Buller's Reverse
11. 'Taking Tea with the Boers': Dundee, North Natal, 20 October 1899
12. White Flag, 'Arme Blanche': Elandslaagte, near Ladysmith, 21 October 1899
13. The Knock-down Blow: Dundee and Ladysmith, 22 October-2 November 1899
14. The Whale and the Fish: SS 'Dunottar Castle' and the Cape, 14 October-26 November 1899
15. Botha's Raid: South Natal, 9-30 November 1899
16. The Lights of Kimberley: The Western Frontier, Cape Colony, 20-28 November 1899
17. Breakfast at the Island: Modder and Riet Rivers, Cape Colony, 28 November-10 December 1899
18. Marching up in Column: Magersfontein, 9-12 December 1899
19. 'Where are the Boers'?: Tugela River, near Ladysmith, 11-15 December 1899
20. 'A Devil of a Mess': Colenso, Natal, 15 December 1899
21. Black Week, Silver Lining: British Isles, 16 December 1899-1 February 1900
22. Christmas at Pretoria: Pretoria, 12 December 1899-1 January 1900
23. 'Are We Rotters or Heroes?': Ladysmith, 2 November 1899-6 January 1900
24. The Tugela Line: Natal, 6-24 January 1900
25. An Acre of Massacre: Spion Kop, Natal, 24-25 January 1900

Part 3: Robert's Advance
26. The Steam-roller: The Western Front, 11-15 February 1900
27. The Siege within the Siege: Kimberley, 9-17 February 1900
28. Gone to Earth: Paardeberg, 17-27 February 1900
29. The Key Turns: The Tugela Line and Ladysmith, 12-28 February 1900
30. The Handshake: Across the Tugela, 27 February-15 March 1900
31. The Plague of Bloemfontein: The Orange Free State, 13-28 March 1900
32. 'Keeping De Wet from Defeat': Northern and Eastern Free State, 17 March-April 1900
33. 'The White Man's War': Mafeking (Cape Colony Border), 30 April-May 1900
34. Across the Vaal: The Orange River Colony and the Transvaal, 31 May-June 1900
35. 'Practically Over': The Ex-republics, 8 July-September 1900

Part 4: Kitchener's Peace
36. A Muddy Election: London, Autumn 1900  
37. The Worm Turns: South Africa, 30 October-16 December 1900
38. Disregarding the Screamers: Cape Town and Beyond, 17 December 1900-28 May 1901
39. 'When is a War not a War?': London and South Africa, 1901
40. Raiding the Colonies: Cape Colony and Natal, 3 September-December 1901
41. Blockhouse of Blockhead?: The New Colonies, November 1901-March 1902
42. Peace 'Betrayed': Pretoria, 11 April-June 1902
Epilogue: 'Winners and Losers'
Important Dates Before and During the Boer War
Select Bibliography

'This is a wonderful book: brilliantly written .. .the reader turns each page with increasing fascination and admiration' - A.J.P. Taylor

 'Not only a magnum opus, it is a conclusive work ... Enjoyable as well as massively impressive' - Financial Times

'Hypnotically readable ... a tremendous feat of research .. this is a grand-scale history with heroes and villains ... hot, impassioned work, and I recommend it wholeheartedly' - Newsweek

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