The Boer War

Narrated by: James Langton
Length: 19 hrs and 21 mins
Categories: History, Africa
4.5 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) is one of the most intriguing conflicts of modern history. It has been labeled many things: the first media war, a precursor of the First and Second World Wars, the originator of apartheid. The difference in status and resources between the superpower Great Britain and two insignificant Boer republics in southern Africa was enormous. But, against all expectation, it took the British every effort and a huge sum of money to win the war, not least by unleashing a campaign of systematic terror against the civilian population.

In The Boer War, winner of the Netherland's 2013 Libris History Prize and shortlisted for the 2013 AKO Literature Prize, the author brings a completely new perspective to this chapter of South African history, critically examining the involvement of the Netherlands in the war. Furthermore, unlike other accounts, Martin Bossenbroek explores the war primarily through the experiences of three men uniquely active during the bloody conflict. They are Willem Leyds, the Dutch lawyer who was to become South African Republic state secretary and eventual European envoy; Winston Churchill, then a British war reporter; and Deneys Reitz, a young Boer commando. The vivid and engaging experiences of these three men enables a more personal and nuanced story of the war to be told, and, at the same time, offers a fresh approach to a conflict that shaped the nation-state of South Africa.

©2012  Martin Bossenbroeck (P)2017   Recorded Books

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What listeners say about The Boer War

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting and engaging view of the War

An interesting and engaging account of the War written from the differing personal accounts by notable participants in the Boer war. This makes it easy to follow and understand the politics around the war. The accounts of how things transpired in Europe and the Netherlands in particular are refreshing.

However I have two complaints. For a South African it is hard to follow at times due to the Dutch instead of Afrikaans pronounciations of names and places. The insistent and unnecessary use of racial terms, common in its day but deeply offensive today, is jarring. Other than that it is very good.

8 people found this helpful

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Excellent Detail

I was disappointed about the lack of audiobooks on the Anglo-Boer wars until this one came out...it's fantastic for those searching for this topic and history.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great detail on a very little know war.

good book, great detail from multiple view points, leant a great deal of European politics of the period, would love to read more about 19th century European and Afican history after listening to this.

2 people found this helpful

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Interwoven personal histories

This is read beautifully, by the way. The author has chosen to follow a few individuals personal accounts of the war as the main threads through the history. This has the advantage of giving a strong sense of what the war was like for ordinary soldiers and civil servants. It makes the experience more personal. If he could have secured or added more of these, perhaps one civilian in the camps, and one black warrior it would have rounded the concept out. I think it was the right path but just needed the addition of two or more diary-based accounts. The suffering of the civilians, black and white, in this war is the bulk of this tragedy, but takes up a fraction of the tale.

1 person found this helpful

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A worthwhile read, but a very disappointing narrator

This is a very interesting perspective on a brutal period in Southern African history. The narrative is shaped around three participants in this historical saga - a Dutch lawyer, an English journalist (Winston Churchill), and a Boer commando.

For anyone with any insight into the proper pronunciation of people’s names and place names, it is extremely frustrating. I almost stopped listening at a few points. I find it hard to believe that the publishers did not review the narration to ascertain how well the book was being read. Not only are names and places miss-pronounced 90% of the time, the mispronunciations keep changing!

Regardless, it is worth reading.

1 person found this helpful

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good review of a bad war

Very complete and interesting history of how South Africa became South Africa. The beginning is a little too detailed, but was interesting. At least 30- 40 percent is about the reason the war started. At first I thought it was going to be anti-British and one sided, but it was not. Bad things were done on both sides and these are presented. This was Britain's Vietnam but in the Victorian era. Some have complained about the pronunciation the performa uses. Apparently he uses the Dutch pronunciation. It is a little confusing at first but when you realize Kruey is Kruger it works.

2 people found this helpful

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Great chronology and history

This is an excellent book going back a few decades before the Boer war and then spending about 60% of the book on the actual conflict. There’s a lot of historical figures covered in this book, so many of them don’t get a lot of development, but that’s OK. I would say my only complaint with the book, is that some of the transitions seem to be a little bit abrupt and I had to go back to see what has actually changed, or with a new topic was. But I highly recommend it.

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Boring and myopic

I've only given up on a few books in my ~15 years of listening to Audible, but with 14 more hours left on this one, I just could not justify wasting any more of my life on this one. Way too much detail. Narrow point of view.

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Informative

Much of the internal behind the scenes historical information is interesting but much of the battlefield story is missing.

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The Boer War

Terrible pronunciation of place names and an epilogue laced with racism against the Boer and apparently complete absolution of the British who laid the foundations for apartheid in this fine nation!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Graham
  • 04-11-18

Bad Pronouncition of South African characters

What did you like best about The Boer War? What did you like least?


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Boer War?

My great grandparents were in the british army in South Africa . The one at Rorke's drift and the other Boer War ( ?) Not proud of this aspect of my ancestors.The treatment of the Boers by the British was horrific. Kitchener was a disgrace. Biggest casualties Boer children............. ten of thousands , then Women and finally Boer soldiers. Burning of their farms, not feeding prisoners on occasions, concentration camps for women run by men...thank .heavens for Mary Hobhouse.

Did James Langton do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

I think James should have done more homework on the pronunciation of South African Towns and names.e.g. Pronunciation of Smuts as in rude (smut) versus as in kissing ( smooch). Maybe I am bias and I would hate James to hear my pronunciation certain English words!

Did The Boer War inspire you to do anything?

follow the careers of certain characters post the Boer War. Smuts, Churchill and Kitchener in particular.

Any additional comments?

was it true that Kruger decreed that any Boer who killed Buller would be had up for treason?

2 people found this helpful

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  • R N BLAIR
  • 06-30-18

The Boer War,

The book is undoubtedly an authentic account of The Boer War. It is nevertheless marred by the narrators inability to pronounce many of the names and places correctly. For example the Union Castle liner
Dunnotter Castle is pronounced as spelled. It is not the Dooneter Castle. Similarly Smuts is Smuts, not Smoots or Smoets. The Toogela River, as pronounced by Langton,is normally known as the Tugela with the stress on the penultimate syllable.
There are many other example of poor knowledge in pronouncing names and places although it must be said that knowledge of the Dutch and Afrikaans names was generally up to the mark. Such a pity as this audio version did not serve the book well.
Finally. No such place as Lourenco Markeesh or Lourenco Marceish or even Lourenco Mar-qiche has ever existed - either in Portuguese or English.
Neil Blair.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard Carmichael
  • 11-22-19

Pronunciations of name,s and place names

The story of this historical account is generally good and interestingly informative and enjoyable. The narrators tone is good. Sadly, however, the narrators pronunciations of virtually all place, and personal names is abyssmal. I can only presume that he is using either the Dutch, or Flemish form. For example : it is Smuts ..... not Smoots. It is Spion Kop ...... not Spy--on Kap, etc, etc. These mispronunciation, through rather spoil an excellent listen and a good narration. Otherwise, I will highly recommend this book.

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  • Sketch
  • 08-29-19

A very detailed history of a complex war

Phew! Quite a lengthy book and a lot to take in. But well narrated and a lot of detail. At times it was a bit tedious with what I thought was unnecessary detail. It also illustrated the arrogance of the British political philosophy at that time in our history. Also the way in which it led to apartheid and the cruelty that was imposed by the Dutch / Afrikaans. Not a time in history that any one involved should be proud off.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-06-19

Wirklich sehr interessant.

Der Sprecher ist klar und die Geschichte informative. Dieses Buch ist wahrscheinlich die Beste, dass den Krieg zwischen den Buren und Großbritannien erklärt.

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  • Conor
  • 10-09-18

Well Structured and Well Read

Great book all round. Would recommend to anyone. All the different parts come together nicely.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-18

Poor pronunciation of names and places spoiled the book.

Surely before narrating a book, pronouncing the names and places should be ensured? Unfortunately the pronunciation in this book was so bad, I felt embarrassed.