MAFEKING: A Victorian Legend by Brian. Gardner

MAFEKING: A Victorian Legend

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The story of the famous Boer War siege of Mafeking, this informative book is almost certain to startle Boy Scouts of all ages. An authenticated account of a colonial victory seen in its day as a symbol of the invincibility of the British Empire, Mafeking has at its center the enigmatic personality of Col. R.S.S. Baden-Powell, later founder of the Boy Scouts, who became the most popular national hero Britain had known since Wellington. Because it is written with all the hindsight of present-day anti-colonialism, Mafeking frequently breaks the bubble of Baden-Powell's pious Victorian hypocrisy. This man, who, like Peter Pan, never wanted to grow up and never did, sold siege soup to starving Africans at 3d. a can while he fed the whites remarkably well. He signed a death-warrant for the theft of a goat and knew the dog cemetery was being dug up for bones while hundreds of pounds of tinned meats were in the stores. To conserve these supplies he ""got rid of"" two thousand native women and children. A good Scout, however, he was concerned that his friend ""The Boy"" should have clean pyjamas. Ironically, the creator of the motto ""Be Prepared"" wasn't. The siege was at first disastrous through lack of reconnaissance. Thoroughly researched and documented, Mr. Gardner's book is an incisive and entertaining study of mores of nationalism. A first-rate book.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World