The Boer War

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by T0m94, Oct 22, 2012.

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  1. Hi everyone

    I would be really grateful if some people could recommend good books they've read on the Boer War, as part of my wider research I have already searched google, gone through the library and looked on Amazon, but I'm just interested if anyone has read a particularly good account of the conflict, and help would be great.


  2. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    Thomas Pakenham - The Boer War.

    Commando - personal account by DeNeys Reitz
  3. A couple of odd tangents:
    1) Gandhi's assertion to be able to create and work in the Ambulance Corps. I.e.: A) being allowed to do this and, B) observe how this was one of the beginnings of his incremental social advancement towards the Indian independence movement);
    2) The input of the colonies of Australia (federation occurred mid-way through the second Boer War). A fair few of Tasman VCs were won in South Africa;
    3) Watch The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp! (A weak case for it I agree).
  4. "The Great Boer War", Byron Farwell, Pen & Sword Military, 2009

    "The Boer War", Tabita Jackson, Channel 4 Books, 2001

    "Australia's Boer War", Craig Wilcox, Oxford University Press, 2002

    "The Great Boer War" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, that Conan Doyle) available for free download at

    The Great Boer War by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Project Gutenberg
    • Like Like x 1
  5. The Boer War by Thomas Pakenham as mentioned earlier is a good recent general history (Hard Cover published in 1979) of the Second Boer War. I read it in 1980 and I could not put it down. The first version is the one that you should look for; there has been a second printing issued I think in the 1990s with more period photographs and illustrations but some of the text has by necessity been edited out to make room for the new pictures.

    The Great Anglo-Boer War by Byron Farwell published in paperback in 1990 is useful too. He is a good writer on military subjects and I enjoyed his "Queen Victoria's Little Wars" a study of the Imperial Army in the XIXth Century, very much.

    Sir Winston Churchill wrote a book about his experiences that might be of value too. From the Churchill Centre and Museum in London website:

    First published by Longmans Green, London: 1900
    Woods A4
    The most exciting early Churchill work, this colorful book sets down Churchill's Boer War experiences, including his escape from the Boers after the Armoured Train attack and his return to British lines. First editions are beautifully illustrated with cover artwork showing the ill fated armoured train. Illustrated by maps and plans within 498 pages. First of the two Boer War volumes. Last reprint 1989 ("The Boer War") by Leo Cooper (London) and W. W. Norton (New York).

    First published by Longmans Green, London: 1900
    Woods A5
    In his sequel to the Ladysmith, Churchill takes us through the march on and capture of Pretoria and his triumphant reentry to free his fellow prisoners at the Staats Model Schools. This is some of WSC's best writing on early military campaigns. 410pp, illus. with maps. Last reprint 1989 (The Boer War) by Leo Cooper (London) and W. W. Norton (New York).LONDON TO LADYSMITH VIA PRETORIA
    First published by Longmans Green, London: 1900
    Woods A4
  6. For what it's worth -

    London to Ladysmith via Praetoria by Winston Churchill is available for free for Kindles from
  7. PM me your address and I'll lob one in a jiffy bag. I forget who it's by but it's one of the National Army Museum publications and is a good general read on the subject. You might as well have it for nowt, as it's simply taking up a slot in my book case that could otherwise be occupied by a McClunge or a Jilly Cooper.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Make sure you watch 'Breaker Morant'! (And listen carefully to the theme tune).
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  9. Thanks everyone for the great replies! really helpful!


  10. Can't help you with books, that's been done, but I DO have a DWM Mauser carbine, one of 2000 made in July 1897, and shipped out to the ZAR in August of that year to arm the Boers for the inevitable conflict.

    It was captured at the Battle of Korannafontein on May 10th 1901, and taken from its owner, Piet Huijsen of Klippspring, by the New South Wales Mounted Infantry unit who had had their clock comprehensively cleaned by the Boers the day before, but finally got their act together.

    He carved his name on the stock, like so many other Boers did, and I traced his story via the Anglo-Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein, and a local farmer - Peter de Jaeger.

    Not a book, but a real bit of history.

    I can send you pix to put in your story if you want. Or not, as the case may be.

  11. Try first half of 'History of a Regiment, Northumberland Hussars' Look out for Black Angel, memorials to the fallen, I know of one in Penrith and one in Bedford. Kendal has a stand of Poplar trees, said to commemorate local men who were in South Africa.

  12. Cheers for even more help! Plunderer that would be great if you could! Just out of interest more than anything! If I ever used them for anything I'd of course ask for your permission.


  13. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer