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The Great War in Africa, 1914-1918 by Byron…

The Great War in Africa, 1914-1918 (original 1986; edition 1989)

by Byron Farwell

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Title:The Great War in Africa, 1914-1918
Authors:Byron Farwell
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1989), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:military history

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The Great War in Africa, 1914-1918 by Byron Farwell (1986)


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The first British shots of the First World War were fired in west Africa and the war's final battle took place in Northern Rhodesia the day after the armistice. In between is some of the most fascinating and obscure military history. Often written off as an inconsequential sideshow, The Great War in Africa it is a riveting story brilliantly told by Byron Farwell. ( )
  JohnPhelan | Oct 4, 2016 |
Straightforward history of military operations in Africa, chiefly from a British viewpoint. Interesting for including campaigns in Togoland, Cameroons, Namibia much less well-known that von Lettow-Vorbeck's epic stand in East Africa. ( )
  antiquary | Jul 12, 2011 |
An interesting look into the now-obscure campaigns in Africa during World War I. A special bonus is the bizarre but true tale that inspired C.S. Forester's "African Queen." ( )
  Brooos | Jan 25, 2011 |
While many readers are familiar with actions on the Western Front in World War 1, far fewer are aware of the fighting that took place across the continent of Africa. In this very readable book, Farwell presents an overview of the campaigns fought by the Allied Powers to seize German colonies and outposts and destroy their forces. Many, such as the invasions of German Namibia, Togoland, and Kamerun, occurred quickly and efficiently, but the campaign for German East Africa lasted throughout the war as Allied forces chased an elusive German guerrilla army.

As is typical of Farwell's books, the narrative is well paced and filled with interesting stories and characters. It is not an in-depth study but with the centenary of WW1 approaching this is an excellent introduction into these relatively unknown but fascinating theaters of war. ( )
1 vote jztemple | Aug 1, 2008 |
When the British Empire entered the First World War following the German invasion of Belgium, any chance that the conflict would remain a localized European event was ended, it became truely global. German colonies and outposts ranging from China to New Guinea were rapidly snapped by Japanese, British, and Commonwealth forces. In Africa however the conflict would smolder on for the entire length of the conflict.

The invasion and attempted takeover of the four German colonies in Africa by Britsh, French, Indian, and South African soldiers is the subject of Byron Farwell's immensely readable tome. Three of these colonies - Togoland, Kamerun, and German South-West Africa, modern Nambia - were taken quickly, but the fourth - German East Africa, modern Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi - resisted throughout the war under a genius of irregular warfare, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck.

Asides from being highly informative, Byron Farwell manages to capture some of the idealised romantic notions of war that were lost in the trenches of Europe. One cannot helped but be awed by the experiences of commanders like Lettow-Vorbeck or Spicer-Simon. Nor can this feeling be anything but heightened by the stories of bees and rhinos routing colonial troops in the heat of battle, all brought to fruition by Farwell's natural talents as a writer.

Together an altogether excellent and nearly perfect examination of the war in Africa from 1914 to 1918. ( )
  CSL | Jan 3, 2007 |
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For my grandchildren, Cameron Farwell Lewis and Jenna Rae Farwell.
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When the War of 1914-1918 -- called the Great War until a greater erupted in 1939 -- broke out in Europe, all of sub-Sahara Africa, with the exception of Ethiopia and Liberia, was in European hands, parcelled out as colonies or so-called protectorates.
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