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Commando: A Boer Journal of the Boer War by…

Commando: A Boer Journal of the Boer War

by Deneys Reitz, J. C. Smuts (Introduction)

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I enjoy memoir because it usually takes you away from dry recitations of facts and lets you experience history thru the the thoughts and remembrances of people who were there. It gives history an added layer of humanity and reality. I've read just a little about the Boer war. A Henty book years ago perhaps and a book on Churchill's experiences. Reitz (pronounced "rates") was a older teen when the conflict started. He grew up hunting and riding horses and his experience stood him and his companions in good stead against the British who they often outshot because of their superior marksmanship.

He tells of the early days of the conflict where armies faced off against each other in more typical European style and then once the Boer's got the worst of that they moved to guerrilla tactics because of the significant numerical superiority the British had. The author relates a number of battles where people around him were killed or injured including friends and fellow soldiers of long experience.

He talks about their desperate movements around the country trying to stay one step ahead of the superior enemy troops and how they slipped around them and moved into the Cape Town part of the country behind enemy lines and the success those forces had there. Many incidents of courage and daring are related. All in all an entertaining and educational book.

My copy is the Folio Society edition from 1982. Excellent condition and very well put together slip cased book.
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  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
http://www.justdone.co.za/catalog/product_info.php/manufacturers_id/31/products_... While still in his teens Deneys Reitz served in the Boer forces during the South African War and, after fighting to the bitter end, chose exile in Madagascar rather than life under the British flag.

It was during those years of banishment that he set down, while it was still vivid in his memory, this record of battle and guerrilla warfare.

This chronicle of forced marches, ambuscades, night attacks and narrow escapes shows why the Boer resistance took so long to crack. Reitz learned the craft of the guerrilla under such masters as Botha, Delarey and Smuts, and from Smuts he learned, too, in due course the arts of peace, for it was Smuts who persuaded Reitz to return to South Africa and help in building the young Dominion. In that capacity Reitz showed the same qualities of wisdom, courage and leadership which he had developed as a fighting man, and he crowned a brilliant career of public service to the Union of South Africa by becoming its High Commissioner in London. ( )
  BoonDock | Apr 30, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Deneys Reitzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Smuts, J. C.Introductionmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571087787, Paperback)

1929. Deneys Reitz, who is now one of General Smuts's political lieutenants and a warm supporter of the British Commonwealth, fought through the South African War as our enemy. He enlisted on the outbreak of the war as a boy of seventeen and went through it to the bitter end. His father was President of the Orange Free State, and after peace was concluded he and his family went into exile. Later he returned to his own country; and later still fought in the Great War on the side of the Allies, first in West and South Africa, and then in France, where he was severely wounded, and where he came to command the First Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Commando abounds in interesting sidelights and portraits-Kruger, De Wet, Smuts, Kitchener. One of the most remarkable passages gives us a glimpse of the young Winston Churchill as prisoner of war in Pretoria. It is difficult to speak of this book in anything short of a string of superlatives. The spirit of it is magnificent; the uncomplaining courage of the boy-fighter rouses memories of all the stories down the ages about unrecking devotion to an ideal. And not one of them is a finer one than this.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The straightforward narrative of his experiences is both a classic of true-life adventure, and an unforgettable picture of mobile guerrilla warfare, in a conflict the results of which are with us to the present day.

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