Academic journal article Military Review

The Boer War Generals

Academic journal article Military Review

The Boer War Generals

Article excerpt

THE BOER WAR GENERALS, Peter Trew, Sutton Publishing Limited, Great Britain, 274 pages, 1999, $44.95.

The Boer War Generals is a fine introduction to the conflict between Britain and two Boer republics in southern Africa during the late 1800s. The US military audience knows the Boer War best from the 1980 movie Breaker Morant (Fox Lorber Productions) and E.D. Swinton's 1986 book The Defence of Duffer s Drift (Avery Publishing Group, Penguin Putnam, New York).

The Boer War Generals makes the century-old conflict come alive through the almost-always interesting technique of analyzing tactics, strategy, battles, campaigns and force structures as manifestations of the will of a conflict's key military leaders. The book focuses on principals on both sides who demonstrated exemplary military leadership. The British generals-Lord Fredrick Sleigh Roberts and Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener-were senior officers at or near the end of long, distinguished careers fighting in outposts of the British Empire. They knew the business of deploying forces to areas of austere resources and mounting campaigns against tough indigenous foes.

Their Boer counterparts-Generals Jan Christian Smuts, Louis Botha, C.R. De Wet and J.H. De la Rey-- were much younger, in most cases exercising their first independent commands. …

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