The Great Anglo-Boer War

The Great Anglo-Boer WarThe Boer War Was One Of The Last Of The Romantic Wars, Pitting A Sturdy, Stubborn Pioneer People, Fighting To Establish The Independence Of Their Tiny Nation, Against The Might Of The British Empire At Its Peak Farwell Captures The Incredible Feats, The Personal Heroism, The Unbelievable Folly, And The Many Incidents Of Humor As Well As Tragedy The war described by this book is the second Anglo Boer War, which was fought from 1899 to 1902 So, who were the Boers They were and still are the Afrikaner descendants of Dutch settlers who had set up supply stations in the far south of Africa in support of trade with the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia These were a hard nosed, hard headed and self reliant breed that wanted no one telling them how to run their lives The only thing the liked less than being governed by their on people was being governed by foreigners, which they first experienced when the British started taking over the coastal areas Wanting to be left alone, Afrikaners moved from British controlled Cape Colony to the Indian Ocean coast only to have the British take over that region, Natal, as well Finally, Afrikaners trekked inland and formed two republics, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State Noticing a dysfunctional government in the Transvaal, the British decided to annex it in 1877 After tolerating British rule for three years, the Transvaal Afrikaners rose up in revolt in 1880 and drove the British out This was the first Anglo Boer War.In the 1880 s, gold was discovered in the Transvaal, prompting such a gold rush that foreigners soon outnumbered the Afrikaners Fearing that their home would fall under the rule of foreigners, the Transvaal Afrikaners made it increasingly difficult for them to obtain voting rights In 1899, the British, offended that British subjects in the Transvaal were ruled by the non British Afrikaners and covetous of all that gold, presented the Transvaal an ultimatum consisting of a set of demands, the refusal of which would be considered an act of war In response, the Transvaal presented its own ultimatum, which the British treated as a casus belli In October of 1899, the Second Anglo Boer War broke out, with the Transvaal and the Orange Free State pitted against the British Empire Unlike 1880, the British public was in it to win it, and it was only a matter of time before the Afrikaners Boers were ground down by overwhelming force.The war consisted of three phases The first phase lasted until January, 1900, and was characterized by missed opportunities on both sides British generals as incompetent as they were overconfident, possiblyso, faced off against loosely organized and undisciplined armies of citizen soldiers with no prior military training The British army, long accustomed to over reliance on soldiers too stubborn to retreat while being cut to pieces, failed to capitalize on the disorganization within Boer units and poor coordination between them The Boers, on the other hand, failed to capitalize on poor British generalship, although they did manage to march into both Cape Colony and Natal and besiege several of their cities The second phase started with the arrival of Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts Lord Roberts as the overall British commander He removed as many incompetent commanders as he felt comfortable getting away with and went on the offensive By October, he had relieved all the besieged cities and captured the capitals of both the Transvaal and the Orange Free State With only scattered Boer units in the field, he felt that the war was essentially over, with only mop up operations left, and announced the annexations of both Boer republics He did not, however, proclaim victory from the deck of an aircraft carrier with a Mission Accomplished banner hanging behind him, but his proclamations were just as premature as President Bush s proclamation of victory in Iraq a century later The third and final phase of the war consisted of a two year insurgency throughout the Transvaal, Orange River Colony formerly the Orange Free State , Cape Colony and Natal by those scattered units These units picked up intelligence, supplies and recruits from the Afrikaner populations and intimidated Afrikaner collaborators by burning their farms In desperation, the British commenced a scorched earth policy of burning farms and food supplies to starve the insurgents and began rounding up Afrikaner civilians, mostly women and children, into concentration camps where disease quickly spread, killing thousands, if not tens of thousands As news of the suffering of women and children reached England, public outcry prompted reform of the camps such that mortality rates dropped significantly and a public education system for the children was established Finally, in 1902, acknowledging the bitter end, these units negotiated a peace settlement with the British and laid down their arms.The insurgency phase caused significantlyhuman suffering and loss of life than the other two phases of the war but shaped the Afrikaner character and established the insurgent leaders as the voice of the Afrikaners and South Africans in general In 1906 and 1907, respectively, the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony were granted constitutions and self rule In 1910, the Transvaal, Orange River Colony, Natal and Cape Colony were combined into the Union of South Africa Who were the leaders Afrikaners The British had won the war but lost the piece After a significant investment of blood and treasure to defeat the Boers in a war intended to ensure that Britons dominated Boers and a subsequent infusion of treasure to rebuild the devastated Boer territories, the Boers became the political leaders of all of South Africa.If this book is any indication, the late Byron Farwell was an outstanding history writer I had a hard time putting the book down and look forward to readingof his work. A well written book that gives a good overview of the Anglo Boer War A good first read for someone who is not overly familiar with this war and it certainly wet my appetite to readon the subject. In the late 1890 s the British rounded up an army and invaded South Africa There s obviously backstory, but I m learning that with History you just have to agree on a starting point and go with it Some say their reason for invading was to abolish slavery in the Boer republics, which adds a noble spin to any conflict Others suggest it was because Britain had a greedy eye on the world s largest gold and diamond mines that had recently been discovered near Johannesburg, which spins the invasion in a far less noble direction This book does not presume to decide for us which reason is closer to the truth It is this book s intention to provide a blow by blow account of the battles between the British, who came over and said, We ll take it from here and the Boers, who said, No thanks Apparently the British hadn t fought a big war in a while, and were out of practice, which made the first battles particularly interesting They had never before fought an enemy like the Boers, who weren t a regular army at all, but just a bunch of farmers trying not to get bossed around The Boers had no formal military training, and had to resort to common sense to tell them how to conduct themselves in battle They spread out, they took cover they were good shots and kept shooting until it stopped feeling right, then they retreated These tactics frustrated the British generals, who were oldish, and preferred their battles fought in the traditional fashion, which was setting up lines of infantry, bayonets fixed, and marching smartly towards the enemy When everyone was lined up toe to toe, then and only then were soldiers allowed to fire their weapons in unison Breaking rank, taking cover, and widening the lines to show many smaller targets rather than one massive block of bodies were all cowardly, uncivilized practices So the British got killed a lot in the beginning.Eventually the British did wise up, but not until they shipped over a better general to replace the limp one who just couldn t seem to do anything right.Overall, it was a great book, especially if you like reading about battles and generals and sieges and stuff, but I found myselffascinated by what was going on behind the scenes than what was printed on the page Every now and then I got a glimpse of what might be happening back there, like what the war meant to other nations specifically the U.S and India I would have lovedanalyses of the aforementioned British reasons for invading, but that wasn t really the purpose of this book It definitely made me want to readon the broader history of South Africa.So who won in the end Well, just like you have to pick a starting point for an Historical story, you also have to pick a stopping point And the answer to that question depends on which point you pick I m no historian, so I m not going to pick a point or a winner Instead, I m going to say that everyone lost It was war, after all. I enjoyed this book The Boer War is one I had read a lot about in fiction but did not know a lot of the details Wonderful book that taught me a lot about South Africa and its people Book did drag a bit when we got into siege warfare which is a pretty boring way to run a war, but which was successful. To say this book is an exhaustive account of the 2nd Boer ware would understate the sweep of this work.Farwell details the causes, the circumstances, the battles, the leaders, the eventual peace, and the sequelae I have long had an interest in South African history, but the one gap was understanding the Boer war and its consequences I have now remedied that by reading this book.It is well done, though at time a bit tedious I will confess that I speed read some of the chapters But I also read some chapters very carefully. This must be the defining work on this topic The author knows and tells about every engagement, almost every bullet fired, during this conflict I got interested in the topic on my travel to Capetown and garden route, I saw the statues of Smuts and Botha in Capetown and could not figure out why they were there Now I know As an amateur armchair military historia with a keen interest WorldWar I andspecific the Western front in Belgium, I discovered that most protagonists of the WW I drama did a dress rehearsal in South Africa Byng, Rawlinson, Kitchener, French, David lloyd George, all marched through the South Africa veld apart of Lloyd George This book is actually a precursor to understand WW I military tactics and how they changed or sclerosized in the 12 years between the end of the Boer war and the world war The detail of the book is mind boggling, but fast reading allows you to keep track of the content In the end, in the very, very end, it is so incredible to realize that so many people endured so much hardship for something they got a couple of years later under a liberal government in London It also helped me to understand the difference between the Afrikaners in the veld and the Anglo saxons in the cities who focuson trade The white man case is also clearly elaborated, the whites would fight a deadly war but they agreed that the other race s would not be part of any future regime, a dreadful pity For those who travel to South Africa and want a deeper understanding of the fabric of the country, this is your book I ve had a basic knowledge of the Boer War through other reading, but this is the first comprehensive book I ve read on the subject This is very well done andor less follows the order of events This delves into the why and how this war happened Some very good insider information on many of the participants It examines the ineptitude of many of the British officer corps and how difficult it was for the red lines to fight this guerilla type war Strategies that were totally different became similar This book also examines the brutality of war but honour among enemies at the same time It was the beginning of a new era of warfare, strategies and the horrors of concentration camps Very recommended for those that want a fuller picture of this conflict. This is an absorbing, well written account of a neglected by American readers anyway war at the turn of the last century Rather than being a dry academic text, Farwell s writing style serves to bring the war to life 100 years after the fact Seamlessly mixing descriptions of tactical battlefield and operational decisions with the geo political strategic back drop of the war, intertwining the personal narratives of the men who were carrying out orders and executing political military decisions which I d say was very Ken Burns if Farwell s book didn t pre date Burns work by almost a decade.Coupled with other accounts of the war, like Goodbye Dolly Gray another excellent book written by Rayne Kruger, the average reader can understand some of the causal factors of South Africa s apartied system and gain an insight into the history of a long troubled region.I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any reader looking for a fast paced non academic history of the Boer War with enough detail to satisfy the most avid military historian You won t go wrong. In an age of jingoism When I was young, I remember that Boer War veterans marching at Remembrance Day Now it seems a long time ago and the accounts of Baden Powell and Conan Doyle are all that remain in my memory It was interesting to read what the outcome was i.e nothing much and South Africa remained Afrikaner A general who is courageous and stupid is a calamity Seems to be the undercurrent here as it was in the Great War The Boers who didn t have the strict class system and elected their leaders seemed to have missed this pitfall.A great book

Farwell graduated from Ohio State University and the University of Chicago M.A., 1968 He served in World War II as a captain of engineers attached to the Mediterranean Allied Air Force in the British Eighth Army area and later also saw combat in the Korean War He separated from the military after seven years of active duty.As a civilian, he became director of public relations and director of a

➜ [Epub] ❧ The Great Anglo-Boer War By Byron Farwell ➦ –
  • Paperback
  • 495 pages
  • The Great Anglo-Boer War
  • Byron Farwell
  • English
  • 15 September 2017
  • 9780393306590

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