Commando: A Boer Journal of the Boer War, Deneys Reitz

Commando: A Boer Journal of the Boer War, Deneys Reitz

Deneys Reitz was the young son of a former President of the Orange Free State. Like most other young Boer men he joined a commando at the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899. Unlike many others, he remained in the field from the start of the war until the bitter end. He was present at most of the major events of the war, and had an almost uncanny tendancy to move to a new area at just the right time (despite this there is no doubt about the accuracy of his account - eyewitnesses place Reitz everywhere he said he was).

His autobiographical account of the war thus includes events from every major stage of the war. He was present at the battle of Talana Hill, took part in the siege of Ladysmith, was at Spion Kop, took part in De le Rey's guerilla campaign in the western Transvaal, and joined General Smuts in his raid into Cape Colony. Finally, he was present at the signing of the Treat of Vereenging. You couldn't wish for a better eye witness!

The book was first written while Reitz was in exile in Madagascar in the aftermath of the war. However, it was not published until 1929, by which point Reitz had returned to South Africa, become reconciled with the British, and even served in the British army during the First World War, rising to command the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers! The early version of the book was apparently very bitter, as would be expected in the aftermath of defeat. The version that was published had the bitterness removed, and is a better book for it. It better reflects Reitz's atitudes during the war itself. Reitz had a very immediate style of writing, so we feel that we are riding with Reitz. This is a fantastic book, and well worth reading.

Author: Deneys Reitz
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 336
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (reprint)


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