Stories and Traveltips

ID #4058

Commando, A Journal of the Anglo-Boer War, Denys Reitz, South Africa

With an introduction by Thomas Pakenham and a foreword by General JC Smuts.  “This book tells the simple straightforward story of what the Boer War meant to one participant in it. Colonel Reitz entered the war as a stripling of seventeen years, fought through it to the end, and immediately after its conclusion wrote down these memories.

Of military adventure there is of course full measure. He passed through as varied a record of exciting experiences as have ever fallen to the lot of a young man. Indeed much of what is written in this book with such joyous simplicity may appear to the reader well nigh incredible. But it is a true story, and the facts are often understated rather than exaggerated. The exciting incidents, the hairsbreadth escapes, the dare-devilry are literally true, and the dangers he passed through and courted are such as to make this unvarnished record read like one of pure romance. 

But there is more here than a record of war adventure. We have not only an unforgettable picture of mobile guerrilla warfare, but also an accurate description of life among the Boer forces. It is given, not in an abstract generalised form, but as the actual experience of one particular individual.  As we read, we follow a true personal story that is often stranger than fiction.  The interest in the story deepens as it moves on from the heavy fighting in the Natal Campaign under (General) Botha, through the guerrilla warfare under Koos de la Rey in the Western Transvaal (now the North-West Province), to the climax of marching and privation under me in the Cape Colony. 

The intimate picture gives the inner truth of the war. We see how human beings react under the most terrible stresses to the passion of patriotism.  We see how, under the influence of an idea – in this case that of freedom – the most ordinary human material rings true and rises superior to all danger, suffering and privation.  And the effect is all the more striking because the story is so simple, unadorned and objective”.   AOCommando

General JC Smuts, Pretoria, August 16, 1929.

Contct:        First South African Edition 1992
Southern Book Publishers (Pty) Ltd
Box 3103 Halfway House 1685
ISBN 1 86812 408 8

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Last update: 2014-05-14 14:09
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.10

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