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The Savage Wars: British Campaigns in Africa, 1870-1920

by Lawrence James

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The book is divided into three main sections. First, comprising a majority of the book, are overviews of British campaigns in Africa, broken down into four geographical areas: West Africa (roughly Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria), East Africa (roughly Kenya, Uganda), South Africa, and Egypt/Sudan (including British Somalialand). While the reader may already be familiar with some of the more well known campaigns, the descriptions include many smaller ones. The overviews are not individually in depth, but are presented to give the reader some familiarity with the campaigns. They also help the reader to appreciate the way that the campaigns were related to one another. One should be aware that while the book does cover up to 1920, it does not address WW1 in Africa.

Secondly, the author relates the experience of battle for the British, Commonwealth and native forces under their command. The examples, quotes and descriptions are numerous without being redundant. They cover all scale of actions from small skirmishes to the major battles of the Great Boer War, which is covered in it's own chapter.

Finally the experience of being on campaign is covered. Again, these range from small operations of short duration to large scale campaigns. As with the battle descriptions, the quotes and descriptions are wide ranging and interesting.

The book is supplied with many photos spread throughout and there are a few maps, although the latter aren't really comprehensive, but merely adequate. Overall it's a superb one volume introduction to the period. ( )
  jztemple | Feb 28, 2011 |
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