British Empire Books

The Boer War Generals

Contributed by Steven R. McHenry

AuthorPeter Trew
Published bySutton Publishing

The Boer War Generals consists of thumbnail sketches of Buller, Roberts and Kitchener on the British side and Botha, De Wet and De La Ray on the Boer side woven into the overall flow of the war. As per its title, the book concentrates on the actions and thoughts of these generals rather on any detailed actions of the war and flows with minimal duplcation in the discussion of each general's activities. The general's lives, both post pre and post Boer War are included in the sketches.

After reading it I was trying to figure out who the target audience was. If you are new to the Boer War, Packenham's book is a better buy and a more thorough discussion of the war. If you want a detailed look at specific generals, then individual biographies are the way to go. The maps are a disappointment, and with all the troop movements listed in a rather dense way, the one thing that could have really helped would have been better, more detailed maps of the campaign areas under discussion.

On page 33 of the book there is a very good picture, called "a bird's eye view of Spion Kop" that really brought home the difficulties the british had to deal with in set piece battles with dug in Boers. Had the author continued to use/create similar pictures for the remaining actions, that would have provided a real value to the reader, particularly one that is unfamiliar with the South African landscape where many of these battles were fought. Alas, that was the only one.

It was a nice, quick read on the war as seen through these leading general's eyes, but no new information. The information contained, you could get elsewhere in more detail.

Buy this book at: Amazon

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by Stephen Luscombe