Thursday, February 04, 2010

Good Books on SA?

A request from an American reader:

Dear Sir: I have been reading two books on the Boer War, both of them are slanted toward the British. I would like to read a good book on South Africa that does not have a liberal bias. Can you or one of your friends suggest one for me. I feel so sorry for the white folks of SA and believe that we are on the same road to national destruction, here in the US.
Thank you,
[name supplied]

Ron, can you help us out?

I like R.W.Johnson myself, but would welcome suggestions from readers and contributors with which to answer this query. It might be worth compiling a reading list for further reference, from a variety of perspectives.

8 Opinion(s):

Laager said...

To our American reader

I have a copy of Thomas Packenham's; The Boer War on my bookshelf. I must confess that I have not read it from cover to cover. However, it is generally recognised as one of the most comprehensive works on the subject - even though it is British.

Just like The Great Trek there is a wealth of information on the www which should be able to provide the balance you seek.

If your interest in the subject ever brings you to South Africa, may I suggest a vist to the Boer War musesum in Bloemfontein. It is an absolute must as it has been created by the Afrikaner nation and you will see the conflict from their perspective.

The Afrikaners refer to the war as: Die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog = The Second War of/for Freedom.

Next to the Boer War museum is the Vroue Monument = Womens Memorial/Monument.

This site commemorates the 24,000 Boer children and 3,000 Boer women that died in the British concentration camps during the war. Whilst these camps were not set up as death camps as the Germans did during WWII, these poor souls perished from disease and malnutrtion due to British neglect. Whether this was a deliberate policy or not is still one of the issues from the conflict which has not achieved closure.

It is also worth noting that the children that died in the camps represented nearly 50% of the Afrikaner youth at the time.

Anonymous said...

"the camps represented nearly 50% of the Afrikaner youth at the time."

So why are there so few Boers and so many Afrikaners if it was Afrikaners who died? Should the population densities not be skewed?

Viking said...

I have also read Pakenham, and it's a very balanced account in my view.

thanks for the comment, Laager.

SA Greek said...

I ve read the Thomas Packenham book "The Boer war" and i must say that compared with other works,it is more objective.Its not just an ordinary history book.Its more like story-telling.In a way.You get to understand the main characters as human beings.Again you read more about the British but this time i think we can understand many things from the Boers point of view and how they experienced the war.Mr Packenham does not try to hide from the fact that Alfred Milner was the ( cruel ) mastermind of the whole war.Among other things,he justifies the actions of Redvers Buller and highlights the brilliant guerilla warfare tactics of General De Wet.

Jack said...

My favourite book on South Africa must be When Smuts goes : a history of South Africa from 1952 to 2010 : first published in 2015. by Arthur Keppel-Jones:

The book was really first published in 1947 and is a future history of South Africa. It accurately foretells the rise of Apartheid South Africa, and eventually the "conquest" of white SA and then the F up of the nig nogs taking over.

Scary accurate. Bear in mind that some of the early stuff is a satire on events taking place in 1945 - 1947.

Ron. said...

Well one of the best books I have ever come across on the Boer people is a book called Oom Paul's People which was authored by an American & published in 1900. The author Howard C Hillegas goes into some detail describing the the life of the average Boer of the era. This book is also surprisingly balanced & of course was authored during the second Anglo-Boer War.

Anon 6:54. No. The concentration camps killed close 50 % of the Boer child population as the Afrikaners of the Western Cape were not rounded up into concentration camps as most of them were on the side of the British back then.

This is one of the main reasons why the Boers are the smaller segment of the White Afrikaans speaking population.

Anonymous said...

"Goodbye Dolly Gray, The Story of the Boer War" by Rayne Kruger, is a good read, less boring and less verbose than Packenham, with several battle sketch maps.

Jim Beam said...

Well said Ron!