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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Way Out?
This is the updated 2007 edition of the 1982 book. Despite its title this book is concerned not just with the various military actions but with the political and economic history. The coverage is admirably wide, so it is not just the elite fire teams or Selous Scouts that get a mention but also, for example, the more mundane police units. Similarly the guerrillas are...
Published on 28 Jun 2008 by Charles Vasey

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to the Bush War
This book will give a good overview of the Rhodesian War, the tactics, the factions, the main events, but if it is the only book you read on the Rhodesian War you will deprive yourself of a sense of the zeitgiest vital to understanding what happened in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe during this period.
As often happens with war history the true story is really the emotional one;...
Published on 29 Mar 2010 by Brendan T. Mckenna


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to the Bush War, 29 Mar 2010
By 
Brendan T. Mckenna "Brenox" (Dublin, ireland) - See all my reviews
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This book will give a good overview of the Rhodesian War, the tactics, the factions, the main events, but if it is the only book you read on the Rhodesian War you will deprive yourself of a sense of the zeitgiest vital to understanding what happened in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe during this period.
As often happens with war history the true story is really the emotional one; the fears and hopes of both sides and the gulf between the mentality of the belligerants (and more importatly the innocents). This book captures none of that, none of the true complexity of the Rhodesian War. It is a factual account careful not to infringe on popular modern sensilbilities, and in its brevity some of the issues that warrant deeper explanation are not explored (which is probably why one of the reviewers found it inaccuarate). That said, there are PLENTY of books out there dealing with the all the psychology, angst and personal histories. This book is short, well written, and (as an Irishman man who was born in Rhodesia) is a book I have no problem lending to my work colleagues in Dublin who want to know more about our history. If you lived there (or fought there) it might frustrate you a bit because of its inadequacies but you will never get a perfect book on the subject and as a general intorduction/overview I actually found it good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a little disappointing, 11 April 2014
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This review is from: The Rhodesian War (Paperback)
The book is well written and easy to read. It provides quite a good summary overview of the conflict, but it has shortcommings in my view. For one thing, it is not an unbiased objective account, and it contains important inaccuracies which is surprising given the high academic credentials of the authors. The authors reveal their bias in the first pages when they make the claim (repeated 4 times through the book ) that Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front were fighting to entrench white rule "for a thousand years". In his memoirs Ian Smith clearly states that their war aims were not to indefinitely prevent black majority rule, but to prevent a revolutionary take-over. Ian Smith explains in his memoirs that they wanted a controlled evolutionary change to majority rule, and had laid plans for it to happen in their 1961 constitution. The authors seem to be aware of his memoirs, since they mention them at one point, yet they clearly have not read them, or else they disbelieve what is said in them. In addition the authors tell the reader with evident relish of the derogatory terms the Rhodesian soldiers used for their opponents. However they don't seem to recognise that all soldiers in all conflicts make derogatory comments about their opponents. This is not unique to white Rhodesians.

Other shortcommings of the book are that they leave a lot unexplained. For example they do not deal with the wider world context at all. The guerillas had zero manufacturing capability: every single bullet was donated to them by external agents, yet the authors make only brief mention of the external assistance from Russia and China, and they do not explain why this assistance was given. What did the sponsors hope to gain from this, and did they gain what they wanted? They don't explain the reluctance of the West to recognise Muzerewa's government, appart from the usual accusation that he was a white stooge. They make the claim that the white regime was defeated at the Lancaster House conference, which is of course untrue. The whites had already relinquished power to Muzerewa at that stage. The leader of the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia delegation at Lancaster House was not Ian Smith, it was Abel Muzerewa. Ian Smith was a minister without portfolio by that stage: an advisor in the wings, nothing more. The fact that the authors don't seem to understand this rather damages their credibility.

Even in their last chapter, when they review the destruction of the country by Robert Mugabe, the authors cannot bring themselves to admit that Ian Smith had been right to fight against a revolutionary take over, and that the USA and UK were wrong to support Mugabe. Do they still believe that Robert Mugabe's motive for the war was the selfless service of his fellow countrymen?

The book is a good summary of the military details, but not a good account of the wider issues.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Way Out?, 28 Jun 2008
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This is the updated 2007 edition of the 1982 book. Despite its title this book is concerned not just with the various military actions but with the political and economic history. The coverage is admirably wide, so it is not just the elite fire teams or Selous Scouts that get a mention but also, for example, the more mundane police units. Similarly the guerrillas are covered in detail especially interesting being the stages when a conventional invasion of Rhodesia seemed possible and very large forces built up outside Rhodesia.

The theme of the book seems to be that the Smith Government lacked anything with which to encourage the black population to its side. The French in Algeria paid lip service to "One France" and used the blue kepis to spread some benefits to the muslim population. But in Rhodesia the whole point of the RF government was to retain white control; and they lacked the vision (a vision few minorities in power have) to give a little in order to keep some of the pie. For such an inflexible group Rhodesians proved skilled masters at getting round the rather half-hearted limits the outside world placed on them, and the book deals in detail with the importance of the view from Pretoria in determining the fate of Salisbury/Harare. A well rounded account.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 15 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Rhodesian War (Paperback)
This book was bought for my husband for his birthday. As he was in the Rhodesian army he could identify with a lot of the content.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rhodesian War, 8 Jan 2014
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Very good the authors know the country and its people very well it is probably the best book I have ever read about Rhodesia - Zimbabwe.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 1 Oct 2013
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Very well researched for a period in history largely forgotten I would say that any student of African history or modern African politics should put this on their must read list
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4.0 out of 5 stars A participant's opinion., 17 Oct 2012
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G. Dellar - See all my reviews
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I passed this on to my son, who saw service in the Rhodesian army in the sixties/seventies. He does not usually wish to read about that time, but found this book a balanced and objective account of what proved to be a futile attempt to delay inevitable changes, with whose consequences that country is still suffering.
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21 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten war, 1 Jun 2008
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Mr. M. R. Moran (uk) - See all my reviews
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Interesting in part but many inaccuracies involving details of units and modus operandi. Tends to deride the hard work that the forces tried to achieve, I dont know why the authors remained in country if they loathed it so much.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 22 Nov 2014
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Great book
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What you didn't know......, 19 Nov 2011
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This review is from: The Rhodesian War (Paperback)
This book should be of interest to military historians, political science students, those interested in counter-insurgent campaigns and methods, and ANYONE who wondered what was going on behind the scenes in the days before Mugabe took power in Rhodesia. Its an eye opener, and does make you wonder "what if....?" more than once.

Highly recommended.
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The Rhodesian War
The Rhodesian War by Peter McLaughlin (Paperback - 21 April 2011)
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