THE GREAT ANGLO-BOER WAR by Byron Farwell

THE GREAT ANGLO-BOER WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The first important military challenge to the British Empire in almost a century came from the Dutch-speaking settlers in South Africa. This popular military history emphasizes two dimensions--the incompetence of the British generals, and their onslaught against Boer civilians. Farwell presents as the typical imperial commander Redvers H. Buller, a slow-witted tactician who repeatedly offered his troops as targets for the versatile Boers. Kitchener, the British hero, is seen chiefly as a butcher of non-combatants and a practitioner of scorched-earth warfare. The only British leader with talent, according to Farwell, was Lord Roberts, who demonstrated the potential of mobile war on the dusty veld. Basing his account partially on new documentary evidence, Farwell contends that 20,000 Boer children died in the filthy camps set up by the British. Even with this counter-insurgency tactic, the Queen's army was able to win only by massing huge forces of men and materiel and squandering them. For their part, the Boers were imaginative though xenophobic fighters, welcoming foreign weapons but accepting volunteer foreign troops mistrustfully. Their fight was rewarded, as Farwell tells it, by rehabilitation as police against the black Africans. An accessible and provocative account by the author of Queen Victoria's Little Wars (1973).

Pub Date: June 30th, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row