A book review: The Boer War

It’s very unusual that I write a book review although I read many books. Writing a book review in a photography blog goes beyond usual but since I like the unusual … ­čśë

I’m living now for fourtheenandahalf year plus almost two months in South Africa and have read many books about its history┬ábut this one about THE BOER WAR beats them all….

BoerWarDe Boeren Oorlog (The Boer War) Author: Martin Bossenbroek. Publisher: Athenaeum, Amsterdam. ISBN: 9789025369934/NUR686

I’ve read many books about the history of South Africa, virtually all written by English and Afrikaans speaking South Africans and that includes literature about the Boer War (1899-1902). But never a book written from such a wide perspective (and from a variety of angles) as this 610 pages (including >40 with footnotes and index) masterpiece. It’s written in Dutch and hopefully English translations will be on the market soon for it should be read by South Africans of all walks of life… Until so far I only read books about the subject written from British or Afrikaner perspective. This book adds the Dutch angle to both perspectives. ‘The Dutch connection’ as Bossenbroek writes plays an important role in the years before the Boer War broke out. The story is mainly based on diaries, notes, letters, memoires and articles of British war correspondent Winston Churchill, Boer commander Deneys Reitz and Willem Leyds (Dutch State Attorney in the Transvaal).

The Boer War is intriguing is many aspects. It shows clearly that history repeats itself and that every war is nothing more than a ‘power game’ (or ‘money game’ if you like) on the expense of innocent people. It also learns that the British introduced ‘concentration camps’, which they already did a few centuries before in Australia, with the difference that this time more than 40,000 people (of the estimated >200,000) died┬áin bizar circumstances┬áduring their ‘internship’; mainly children. It took over 100 years before the English government made some kind of apology … The Boer War is a ‘forgotten’ war but many used strategies (policies, etc.) were repeated (and sometimes perfected) in World Wars 1 (1914-1918) and 2 (1939-1945) by all involved parties (‘aggressors’, ‘allies’ and ‘resistance’).

In our previous South African residence (in a farm community near Robertson in the Western Cape) one of our neighbours once said (in Afrikaans) that a “book about Africa, South Africa included, can only be written by a true Afrikaner” ….. In essence not much has changed since the Boer War.

The (his)story of the Boer War begins in 1884 in the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam ….

The Favorit Imaginary

Time to evaluate the interest in my images and imaginaries since I started this blog 4 months ago. According to the WordPress statistics the imaginary ‘Romancing the flower’ is the absolute topper. It was one of the first postings and also one of my favorites; already designated for online poster sales later this year. The most favorite pictures are those of the recent fires that blazed around this village. Especially the helicopter with the bucket flying into the red as a David versus Goliath scored high. The next posting, BTW, is that of an imaginary of this helicopter. The third place goes to an imaginary of my first photo ┬ámodel; Karuna with a hat the queen of Holland is jealous of.

Back to ‘Romancing the Flower’. This imaginary consists of flower elements and Clarissa (one of the dolls of the Stanford Hotel) against a mixed background of the sunset and elements of nearby Papiesvlei (farm community). Added with a moon and ‘Brigitte the Butterfly’ of Fabrikk Gassenschau; a unique outdoor theatre spectacle in Switzerland.

With the WordPress statistics at hand I also realized that the number of ‘likes’ does not tell anything about the real interest. The likes are only from other WordPress users who are logged in. The real interest goes beyond that.

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