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The Boer War by a Boer...
on 28 May 2008
Britain summarises the Boer War as a cynical and greedy campaign where the concentration camp was invented. That's about all you ever hear. So you would think you would hear even more venom from a member of the Boer forces, in which case you'd be surprised. The remarkable thing about Reitz war journal is how open minded it is. The British aren't described as some sort of proto Nazis who should be reviled. Instead he is far more even handed than you'd first expect.
It sheds light on the feelings of the Boers, the jubilation at the start, the bravery throughout, the respect for the British soldiers (and no feelings that the Brits fought a dirty war) and ultimately the realisation a small farming community is doomed against the might of an entire empire.
Of course this is real life so the central third of the book does lack structure as it can be summarised as - we rode across savannah a lot. This does get a bit repetitive however this again shows a reality of war- the boredom. Saying that the opening third and final third make for remarkable reading. For a teenager he did and saw it all!
This is essential stuff if you are interested in military journals, warfare or a lover of an educational read.
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