The Great Boer War, Byron Farwell

The Great Boer War, Byron Farwell

This is a very good general history of the Great Boer War. It benefits greatly from having a good introduction that tells the story of South Africa from the time of the earliest European colonists, through the history of the Voortrekkers, the First Anglo-Boer war and the Jameson raid, tracing the long tense relationship between the Boers and the British.

Once into the war Farwell provides a good clear narrative, well illustrated with contemporary reports and letters. He copes well with the switch from conventional warfare to guerilla warfare half way through the war, and does not shrink from looking at some of the more unpalatable aspects of the war. He has a strong section on the infamous concentration camps that did so much harm to Britain's image at the time. Just as we have a good introduction, we also have a good conclusion, looking at some of the long terms consequences of the war. The only minor problem with this section is that Farwell was writing just before the fall of apartheid, and so some of his conclusions here are less relevant than they would have been at the time.

The book is supported by good clear maps, and a selection of contemporary sketches and photographs. Well recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about this sometimes neglected war.

Author: Byron Farwell
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 494
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Year: 1990


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