Read The Boer War: Illustrated Edition by Thomas Pakenham Free Online
Book Title: The Boer War: Illustrated Edition|
The author of the book: Thomas Pakenham
ISBN 13: 9780679430476
Edition: Random House
Date of issue: September 27th 1994
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 781 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2623 times
Reader ratings: 6.3
Read full description of the books:
A well done narrative of the Boer War. Mr. Pakenham has written a book which resists the easy path of political correctness and doesn't engage in simple minded ideology. He has attempted to show both sides as truthfully as possible. His one very daring act is the effort to show General Buller in a sympathetic light - going against decades of historians that have written him off as nothing, but an incompetent. It's become accepted that General Buller is just another example of the idiots that were in charge of the British military in the nineteenth century. As if competence in the British Army ceased to exist after Wellington died.Mr. Pakenham goes against the grain. It is a bold attempt and one which I believe is done very well. One may not agree with Mr. Pakenham, but you have to respect his courage. Good historians are supposed to challenge the popular mindset.
Mr. Pakenham also excels in his effort to show how very difficult it is to maintain control of troops on the battlefield. Garbled communications, faulty intelligence,monumental egos,poor morale, unexpected effects of new weapons meeting up with outdated tactics - all of these and more are detailed beautifully.
I was somewhat surprised that the Boers are shown as not being all conquering. They often had even more problems then the British. Their troops were wildly undisciplined and were better at partisan warfare or serving in defensive actions. When it came to offensive action, against disciplined troops, the Boers were actually miserable failures. This is a common trait found in what is now know as "irregular forces". It's always refreshing to see a myth punctured.
On the political side Pakenham looks at both sides and shows that war could have been avoided at almost every step, but personal/national egos and ambition kept getting in the way. Naturally there are the inevitable comparisons to World War One and they are very clear.
All in all this is a balanced and very readable work. When I first picked it up I was unsure of what I would find. In the past I've found many of the modern African historians to be extremely left wing and lacking in perspective. Pakenham is an exception to the rule and for that I give him five stars. Well done!
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Read information about the authorThomas Francis Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford, is known simply as Thomas Pakenham. He is an Anglo-Irish historian and arborist who has written several prize-winning books on the diverse subjects of Victorian and post-Victorian British history and trees. He is the son of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, a Labour minister and human rights campaigner, and Elizabeth Longford. The well known English historian Antonia Fraser is his sister.
After graduating from Belvedere College and Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1955, Thomas Pakenham traveled to Ethiopia, a trip which is described in his first book The Mountains of Rasselas. On returning to Britain, he worked on the editorial staff of the Times Educational Supplement and later for ,i>The Sunday Telegraph and The Observer. He divides his time between London and County Westmeath, Ireland, where he is the chairman of the Irish Tree Society and honorary custodian of Tullynally Castle.
Thomas Pakenham does not use his title and did not use his courtesy title before succeeding his father. However, he has not disclaimed his British titles under the Peerage Act 1963, and the Irish peerages cannot be disclaimed as they are not covered by the Act. He is unable to sit in the House of Lords as a hereditary peer as his father had, due to the House of Lords Act 1999 (though his father was created a life peer in addition to his hereditary title in order to be able to retain his seat).
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