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Review: The Boer War

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The Boer War
The Boer War by Denis Judd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a shorter review than I normally write, but I’ve had a hard time writing it. After reading Byron Farwell’s The Anglo-Boer War, I really wanted to enjoy The Boer War by Dennis Judd and Keith Surridge but instead, I came away somewhat disappointed. The Boer War is well researched, informative, and argues some great points but it does so in a very dry way. The authors don’t develop the important personalities, so you don’t get as much insight into their interactions. The book is light on details and heavy on analysis and that isn’t necessarily a problem, but there just doesn’t seem to be quite enough detail on the military action. Additionally, it had no maps and maps are important when you’re dealing with military history. Finally, I frequently felt like I was reading a text book much of the time.

I never really felt engaged with this book. It didn’t draw me in and make me want to keep reading, or make me wonder what was coming on the next page. That’s a trap that a book on history can easily fall into and this one unfortunately did. I can only give this book three stars, but at the same time I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it. It’s definitely worth reading, but only after reading another book on the war that will familiarize you with the war and provide more detail on the fighting and the personalities than this one does.

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