QUEEN VICTORIA'S LITTLE WARS by Byron Farwell

QUEEN VICTORIA'S LITTLE WARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As the 19th century progressed, England's little wars shifted more toward Africa; war correspondents, for whom Farwell seems to share the military's dislike, became more common; the conflicts became costlier and harder to win. This is a light, sometimes frivolous, but generally informative sampling of the innumerable battles fought in the service of the Empire. The book has a rather subjective sense of proportion, mixing up little wars with big ones, then treating the latter via marginal anecdotes, e.g., the Crimean War is rendered through the exploits of an officer's wife. Farwell makes able use of primary and secondary sources, and his tone alternates between gentle irony and sincere enthusiasm for military glory. His biases are frank, (against Gladstone, for instance) and he relegates General Gordon to the briefest possible space, while chronicling the adventures of Wolseley at extreme length. The geography ranges from Canada to Burma, and the character of the engagements from the horrors of the 1857 Mutiny in India to the administrative accomplishments of Warburton, ""warden of the Khyber."" Successful adventure.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1972
ISBN: 0393302350
Publisher: Harper & Row