Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Recommended Posts

Hi!

I want to improve my knowledge about warfare in the British colonies, especially Africa. As I am German I have few prior knowledge of British customs etc. What books could you recommend me to get my horizon broadened? I would be very grateful if you could provide me with a mix of "shallow" books to get a quick and dirty overview and more specialized tomes that will help me to get a grasp of the "soul" of the body of men that created and sustained the British Empire. I am also interested in the Colonial Office etc., but that is too off topic I fear.

Thank you very much!

Patrick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While it is bretty basic, you may find

Philip J. Haythornthwaite, The Colonial Wars Source Book ([London]; Caxton Editions, [2000]; ISBN 1-84067-231-5)

to be of some interest. It is free of the kinds of bias that infect many similar books. It may not be easy to find, though; I'd start on ABE Books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best introduction is the Featherstone series (paperbacks) entitled, "Victorian Colonial Wars".

Often merely a reediting of the Illustrated London News accounts and aimed at British wargamers (lots of uniform details), they are very good, easy to read overviews. There are lots of additional volumes regarding almost every facet of imperialism, but I often refer back to these.

Feathestone, whom I knew when a laddie, was a very decent, typically English Gentleman of the type often found of his generation: quiet, polite, patient, decent, modest, scholarly, unassuming, possessing multiple talents and intellectual curiosity and a dry wit. He never recovered from the murder of his young son, a police constable in the line of duty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some other suggestions:

First three all by Byron Farwell:

1. Queen Victoria's Little Wars

2. Eminent Victorian Soldiers

3. Mr. Kipling's Army

4. Old Soldier Sahib - Private Frank Richards

5. Soldier Sahibs - Charles Allen

and so many others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some other suggestions:

First three all by Byron Farwell:

1. Queen Victoria's Little Wars

2. Eminent Victorian Soldiers

3. Mr. Kipling's Army

4. Old Soldier Sahib - Private Frank Richards

5. Soldier Sahibs - Charles Allen

and so many others.

6. The Scramble for Africa - Thomas Pakenham

7. Can't remember the name (and can't find it tonight), but there's an exhaustive history of the British / German fighting in East Africa during World War I. Perhaps someone else will remember the name. It's fairly heavy going, but might be of special interest to you. I'll keep looking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patrick

I strongly recommend the publications of Foundry Books.

"Colonial Armies: Africa 1850 to 1918"

"Small Wars and Skirmishes: 1902 to 1918"

"Armies of the 20th Century: Risings and Rebellions 1919 to 1939"

"Armies of the 19th Century: Asia: India's Northwest Frontier"

are very readable and contain excellent detail and useful illustrations.

They don't focus just on the British campaigns, but cover other colonial powers as well.

Harry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of Saul David's books are very good. His book "Victoria's Wars" is very good, and only covers the era up to the death of Prince Albert. This is a good companion to David's "Indian Mutiny."

I would also highly recommend Bruce Vandervort's "Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa: 1830-1914" as this isn't limited to the British, but helps give an overview of the European mindset. Understanding the French, German, Italian, Belgian and Portuguese motives helps make the British rational a bit more clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr Kiplings' Army is a classic.

There is a journal devoted to Victorian smaller conflicts that one can read on Magweb.

Of course, one must read the "Flashman: series to "flesh" out ones' knowledge-especially of such obscure conflicts as Ethiopia in 1867, the Siekh wars, the First Chines (Arrow) War and the Indian Mutiny and the Zulu war.

Edited by Ulsterman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×