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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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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.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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on 14 March 2003
This book is a must for anyone with an interest in South African or British history. Being the son of one of the most prominent politicians of the time, Reitz gained a unique insight into the politics of the day, which when combined with his, sometimes harrowing, experiences in an active Commando unit give a vivid and unforgettable account of the hardship, trials and tribulations of life during the Boer war.
Written by Reitz during his exile immediately following the conflict, this is a superbly written book that will have you turning every page until you're finished.
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on 6 March 2013
i bought this for my south african husband as we are trying to find books that he can read all the way through. i thought with him being military and from south africa that this book might interest him and i was right!

the book is an autobiography and written by Dennys about his time in the Boer War in South Africa and being on the South African side is something that you dont often hear about in Britian.

he really couldnt put it down. although it was written a long time ago my husband didnt struggle with the language and terminology and he praised it for how he could relate to it so many years later.

the book was paperback and was light to carry and it arrived well packaged and quickly. i would highly recommend for anyone with an interest in the Boer War or South Africa or the military.
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on 6 January 2016
The Boer War is not particularly well documented, and books from the Boer perspective are especially difficult to find. Yes, the writing is somewhat dated, unsurprising considering it was written not long after the events described. But it is an honest and straight-forward, and informative, chronicle of one young man's experiences. Well worth reading.
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on 9 December 2013
This is the best book that I have ever read about this sad episode in our Countries history. Young Deneys Reitz, son of a famous political leader, fought throughout the war and his accounts of the various actions in which he fought are really stirring stuff. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone interested in the Anglo Boer war. The Boers (farmers) defence of their Country against truly staggering odds is awesome. The tactics adopted to beat them are still a source of hatred in South Africa, the concentration camps for the women and children where thousands died from ignorance and disease. This book would make a brilliant film, it's action all the way through right up to the bitter end at which point young Deneys evaded capture and left his Country, refusing to live under English rule.
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on 9 December 2015
I first read this book as a child many years ago. Reading it again now it is still the best and most vivid account of the Boer War. A tue chronicle of hardship, suffering and heroism and of the futlity of war.
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on 29 October 2015
I have little to add to the appraisals above which are all quite right. I would advise those who enjoyed this book to look for another by Reitz - "Trekking on". This may only be available as an out of print book. Reitz became a politician in his own right in the Union of South Africa under Smuts who was a close friend. Before that he went to London and thence to the Western Front, his first posting being in charge of an Irish battalion.
Those who enjoyed "Commando" will I am sure enjoy "Trekking On".
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on 15 April 2015
How good is this book? 1) I bought 3 extra copies to give to my nephiews 2) N ow rereading book, just 1 week after finishing first time.
It is amazing "Boys Own" adventure. Alas, the British do not come out with shining glory. Those "donkeys" who ordered the burning of Boer farms and exporting women and children to concentration camps -where 36,000 died!! - were perhaps practising for WW1. It was so improtant for Britain to win - and it cost them dear - nearly breaking the bank.
Like everyone else, I couldn't put the book down.
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on 18 March 2012
Plain speaking with no embelishments and a wonderfull insight into the mindset of the Boer forces. For any student of the Boer War and as to what the British Forces, and their Commanders in particular, had to contend this book is an absolute must.
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on 18 March 2011
An absorbing account of the Boer War from the other side on the ground, describing the 'hit and run' tactics which were successfully adopted by the Boers against the British. Essential reading for someone studying the Boer War, by an Afrikaner who subsequently became a trusted member of Smuts's government and High Commissioner in London during the early part of the War.
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