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World War I: The African Front: An Imperial War on the Dark Continent Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Length: 525 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Paice, a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, has written what is by a significant margin the best book to date on the Great War in East Africa. Paice integrates an impressive spectrum of archival and printed sources into a comprehensive analysis based on the premise that, for economic and emotional reasons, Africa mattered to the European powers. Paice accurately and evocatively describes a campaign in which modern technology was consistently frustrated by terrain, climate and disease. He acknowledges the tactical brilliance of German Gen. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. He demonstrates as well that the Germans sustained their operations through systematic brutality that has led too many historians to mistake Africans' fear for loyalty. In that respect there was in practice little difference among the combatants. In East Africa horse transport was ineffective; supplies had to be moved by humans. Among more than a million Africans recruited by Britain alone, at least a tenth died. Subsistence economies were wracked by famine and disease, culminating in the influenza epidemic of 1918. While the voices of East Africa's Great War remain largely Western, the burdens were disproportionately borne locally. 16 pages of photos; maps. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

A richly detailed history of those four years. It is a story of imperial hubris on a colossal scale and an authoritative account of a huge and often overlooked part of the war. World War I: The
African Front will stand as a must-read for students of the African campaign. (The Wall Street Journal)

Edward Paice has written what is by a significant margin the best book to date on the Great War in Africa. Paice accurately and evocatively describes a campaign in which modern technology was consistently frustrated by terrain, climate, and disease. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Product Details

  • File Size: 2406 KB
  • Print Length: 525 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1933648902
  • Publisher: Pegasus Pubns (September 8, 2008)
  • Publication Date: September 8, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0NOW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,674 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Great War in Africa has very few books to define it, and in some cases the better books are just windows into particular experiences. Not so with Paice's book... it treats the war in Africa as the epic that it was and deals with it in all its shades.

During the 19th Century the continent of Africa was almost entirely divided up amongst the European powers (and the Ottoman Empire) and so when the Great War broke out in 1914 and caused all the European powers to be drawn in as well it was inevitable that the conflict would also involve the colonies of the belligerents. The book mostly centers around the war as it was fought in German East Africa, as the small but tenacious army of that colony continued the war right up to the armistice, but it does not neglect the fighting in the Sahara, conflicts in Abbyssinia and other skirmishes on the continent. Aspects such as the prewar "gentleman's agreement" which stated that colonies would not become battlefields in order to preserve European domination, propaganda, the role of Islam in the war and the complicated South African political situation are all dealt with in this book.

The very best part of this book, however, is the collection of maps which actually make the fighting understandable without having to refer to an old atlas every five minutes. This is the only book I've seen so far which actually lays out many of the key battles rather than relying on a written description of them. I would have like to have seen more photos included but those that are in the book are excellent.

I can't recommend this book highly enough!
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Format: Hardcover
It was called a 'World War' because it seemed that for the first time in recorded human history, the battlefield extended to every corner of the globe. Written by former Cambridge history scholar Edward Paice, World War I The African Front: An Imperial War on the African Continent is an in-depth historical chronicle of the East African front of World War I. Though British troops quickly overwhelmed the threat of German naval bases in Africa, the land war would prove to be much more deadly to troops and civilians alike. The in-depth discussion of the horrors of war provides not only an meticulously objective description of the battlefront, but also a visceral understanding of why veterans of the war in France claimed to prefer life in the trenches to serving in East Africa. A handful of black-and-white photographs enhance this worthy addition to World War I history shelves. Especially recommended for public and college library collections.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is detailed but disappointing. The maps in the front are excellent, the German order of battle information in the appendices likewise. But the nuggets of new or insightful information in between are not worth the effort of digging them out! The author writes "this happened, then this happened, then this happened." There is no background, no progressive development to a dramatic conclusion, none of the colorful anecdotes found in other accounts, little military analysis, and NO literary style whatsoever! Paice has achieved the goal of many an academic historian - making exciting and inspiring history dull! He writes almost entirely from the British perspective, but even their official history (Military Operations in East Afrcia Vol I, by Hordern, cited in Paice's bibliography) makes better reading. The best complete account remains Charles Miller's Battle for the Bundu, also cited, as are Anderson's Forgotten Front, Hoyt's Guerilla, and Gardiner's German East. Not cited, Byron Farwell's Great War in Africa is less detailed, but an easier read, and it covers other aspects of the African Front as well. (Paice's title should more accurately be the EAST African Front.) Likewise, the best account of the Konigsberg is Hoyt's The Germans Who Never Lost. And though Paice takes issue with it, Von Lettow's Reminiscences of East Africa is also available in English.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the World War I history buff, this is a fascinating book. It deals primarily with the campaign in German East Africa, which lasted from Day 1 of WWI to after the signing of the armistice. Unlike the trench warfare on the European Continent, this was a war ranging over wide distances, of overcoming unbelievable obstacles to man and beast, and displaying amazing imagination on both sides in the pursuit of the battles for their colonies. For example, whole ships were carried piece by piece overland to the lakes claimed by the Belgians, British and the Germans; a zeppelin air ship was built to relieve the German troops 3600 miles away.

There are players and places of significance whose names crop up again during and after World War II.

The book is well written, has some excellent reference material plus useful maps. It is helpful for the reader to scan and print the maps to avoid having constantly to go back to look up places the reader may never have heard of before.
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Format: Hardcover
Interesting, if one-sided account of WW1 in Tanganyika (German East Africa). Bumbling Brits, Belgians and Portugese chase Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck around for almost 5 years without catching him. Great testament to Von Lettow-Vorbeck's creativity and preserverance against overwhelming odds. The title is a misnomer, as this book only covers East Africa.
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