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on 28 October 2013
First of all, Mr Anderson's work is packed with detail and appears deeply and exhaustively researched, using plenty of primary sources (a rarity these days). This is a plus for me and you certainly get plenty of book for your money, no doubt about it. There are a few annoying spelling mistakes, which should have been picked up during proof reading, but nothing catastrophic.

Sadly there are also some obvious, and easily remedied, deficiencies that really should have been picked up well before publication. Hopefully if the title is ever reissued these will be sorted out.

First and foremost, there is a desperate lack of graphics which could and should have enhanced the text to aid understanding. A few tables showing the various OOB's (orders of battle) of each protagonist would have been extremely helpful and surely not beyond the powers of the writer. With the formations changing so much between each fighting season, I would have expected these as standard.

The few maps included look like a cheap route planner from ten years ago and do nothing to represent the ground fought over. They are monotone, confusing and messy, frankly looking like little more than confusing scribbles. I understand that colour maps for each chapter may have been prohibitively expensive, but plenty of books get around this with much better graphics.

Despite being a pamphlet by comparison, and a fraction of the RRP, the Ospreys title dealing with WW1 in East Africa manages to include plenty of OOB's and decent quality maps.

These two deficiencies, had they been included, would have helped to solve another issue, which is the densely droning style of writing. Obviously the subject matter is one that suggests a certain level of academia, yet it should also be a good read. It's not. It reads like a shopping list of events, blandly recorded in detail with no human interest or attempt to view the campaign through the eyes of the soldiers and civilians involved. I'm sure someone well versed in the campaign may have been able to pick through the unfamiliar place names and unit titles a lot more easily, but unless this book is aimed purely at historians then the rambling paragraphs really should have been tidied up during the editing stage.

It doesn't help that the writer keeps changing how he refers to units, from their nicknames, their operational titles and their official titles, with no explanation as to the changing terminology other than a rather tardy (and short) glossary right at the back.

I do have a pet hate, which is historians who cannot help but flood their books with their own personal bias regarding personalities and where fault lies. I could have made my own mind up given the events, without being spoon-fed someone else's opinion dressed as fact, but it's rare to read a historical text these days where this is not the case.

All in all, the book isn't terrible, I enjoyed the quick summary at the end of the book in particular, so certainly someone should consider buying this if they already have a few titles on the subject and want to pick up another viewpoint (the older I get the more I recognise the value of this). Unfortunately, it really is the forgotten front and choices on the subject are sorely limited, yet even so I would be looking elsewhere first.
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on 28 December 2004
Ross Anderson does a good job of explaining and discussing the military campaign and the political dealings that went on. The down fall of the book is that it does not have a enough maps in the beginning stages of the book. This would give the reader a greater understanding of what was taking place on the British East Africa border with German East Afrika. For £25 this book is expensive. For £17.50 it is worth a read if you are interested in obscure campaigns. I am giving four stars because this book must of been incredibly difficult to write, and a very testing PhD. A book that was needed in an area that nobody has thought about for many years.
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on 28 February 2014
I expected a lot more from this. It does little to build on existing works and is a little dry in tone. I much prefer Paice's Tip & Run for it's inclusion of personal stories that lend it a more human touch. However, this book is good if you want to know the location and movements of particular units.
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on 12 January 2015
Excellent; clearly and succinctly written history derived from and referenced to a huge range of primary sources. Clearly a labour of love. For me, it was spoiled by poor monochrome maps which do not relate well to the text.
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on 28 October 2016
Bought this for my husband who is some sort of expert on the First World War in Africa ,and he was very disappointed in this
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on 27 January 2005
A subject that I knew little of before reading this book it is never the less a very interesting subject. The book makes easy reading and explains just how well the germans did with very little resources and how well they could have done with a little more. Detailed and relatively exciting to follow it is an excellent book that leaves you wanting to know more. I recommend this to anyone with an interest in little known theaters of war.
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on 6 January 2013
Very interesting book. Difficult to put down. I have enjoyed reading it. I would certainly recommend this book to a friend.
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on 27 May 2007
A very disappointing book on an interesting but little-described theatre of the Great War. Its turgid style betrays its origins as a PhD thesis, packed with detail but generally lacking broader overviews to give us the bigger picture. Despite the fact that many S. African veterans produced memoirs of the campaign, the book gives very little insight into the conditions experienced the men on the ground - surely matters of real relevance to the troops' morale and fighting spirit. The maps (which could have enlightened the text hugely) are generally very poorly produced, apparently with a low-resolution computer graphics package which often makes it hard to distinguish different features, and key places mentioned in the text may even fail to appear on the supposedly relevant map(s). The author's PhD supervisor (who has therefore to bear some responsibility for the quality of the content) gives the book his fulsome praise on the dust-jacket.
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on 30 June 2015
Factually excellent and very interesting
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on 22 September 2015
Abject failure at its declared task and one of my worst-ever choices of a work of history. This book is tedious and the author has no idea of telling a story. Piling on more detail seems its sole virtue. Its origin as a PhD thesis is no excuse and i shall leave his supervisor's work well alone, too.
The writing is super-cautious to the point of being timid. While discussing his sources, Anderson refers to the spurious diaries of Richard Meinhertzagen as "controversial". RM was a compulsive liar. His stuff is worthless. I learned from an ancient Greek that the first duty of the historian was to drive out bad versions of history.
Early in the campaign the British began to become uncommonly dependent on the South African Army. The introduction of this development is unbelievably brief, almost dismissive. It is as if the writer was barely aware of the Boer War and all the ironies and tensions that were apparent in the relationship.
Hopeless, Any of the several other works I have seen on this subject are far superior. To me, a complete and irritating waste of time and money.
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