Edward Paice World War I: The African Front

ISBN 13: 9781605980805

World War I: The African Front

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The definitive and dramatic history of World War I’s forgotten front.

On August 7, 1914, Britain fired its first shots of World War I not in Europe but in the German colony of Togo. The campaign to eliminate the threat at sea posed by German naval bases in Africa would soon be won, but in the land war, especially in East Africa, British troops would meet far fiercer resistance from German colonial forces that had fully mastered the tactics of bush warfare. Its costs were immense, its butchery staggering: well over 100,000 Allied troops died, as did hundred of thousands of civilians. Imperialism had run calamitously amok.

This eye-opening account of the Great War in East Africa recounts in full the daily horrors of an ill-fated campaign alongside tales of extraordinary courage and the kind of adventure that inspired C. S. Forester’s The African Queen, William Boyd’s An Ice-Cream War, and Wilbur Smith’s Shout at the Devil. 40 b&w illustrations

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About the Author:

Edward Paice spent several years living and writing in East Africa, as he researched World War I: The African Front. A former history scholar at Cambridge, Paice was awarded a Visiting Fellowship in 2003. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Paice lives in Kent.

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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.

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9781933648903: World War I: The African Front: An Imperial War on the Dark Continent

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