A war with many stories ...
The literature on the Anglo-Boer War is massive! And on specific issues, you can drill ever deeper, using books and internet resources. This can be a long journey, but very rewarding!
This war can be regard as the first "modern war" - there are many photographs, taken by many photographers in the field. This was the first well-photographed war in history.
Furthermore, many of the officers, soldiers (on both side), and local people were educated, and recorded their experiences. We therefore have a wealth of diaries and recollections about the war.
Our website makes available these stories from all sides of the war - the Burgher fighters, and the British soldiers, the local communities (including the black communities who were often drawn into the war).
For many people, "the other side of the story" may come as a new experience, and we hope that our visitors will see the war from new perspectives. There was suffering and heroism, on all sides.
Herewith some pointers to prepare for your travels in the Karoo, and for your intellectual journey as well!
Out-of-print books may be available from www.abebooks.com, or www.bidorbuy.co.za, and many reprints are available from various publishers. Many electronic items are available on www.angloboerwar.com, which also includes a valuable Name Search facility.
An excellent source for Boer experiences in the concentration camps, is the Boer Concentration Camp Data-base (BCCD), compiled by the University of Cape Town.
In many towns, local people have written histories of the war. These may be available at second-hand goods websites, such as or directly from the authors.
General texts on the Anglo-Boer War
1. Thomas Pakenham's The Boer War is a classic. Many copies available on www.abebooks.com.
2. Karoo and Free State events are well covered in Arthur Conan Doyle, The Great Boer War. (He was also the author of the Sherlock Holmes books). Doyle was a doctor serving the British force during the war, and recorded the information provided by the ordinary front-line soldiers.
3. A detailed and very balanced account is Amery, LS (1905), The Times History of the War in South Africa, 99-1902, available online at www.angloboerwar.com.
4. The most state-of-the-art chronology of the war is Pieter Cloete (2010), Die Anglo-Boereoorlog: 'n Chronologie, privately published. Contact the author at PO Box 6745, Flamwood (Klerksdorp) 2572.
5. Breytenbach, JH (1969), Die Geskiedenis van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog in Suid-Afrika, 1899-1902. Available on various second-hand booksites. A landmark study.
6. Christaan de Wet (1903), Three Years War, Archibald Constable and Co, Westminster. A translation of his Dutch text, De Strijd Tusschen Boer en Brit.
7. Fransjohan Pretorius and Gilbert Torlage (1999), The Hall Handbook of the Anglo-Boer War, University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg.
8. Stirling, J (1903), Our Regiments in South Africa, William Blackwood and Sons, London; republished by The Naval and Military Press, Uckfield, England. Available in hard copy, as well as in electronic format here.
9.Another book by John Stirling (1907): The Colonials in South Africa, 1899-1902, available also available in electronic format here.
10. Christiaan de Wet wrote his own version of the war, called The Three Years War (1902). this is a classic. It is available electronically here.
1. A very readable book is WT Reay (1900), Australians in War, available online at www.angloboerwar.com.
1. A detailed and very readable account of Bethulie's fortunes is Trudie Venter (2011), Bethulie en die Anglo-Boereoorlog, privately published. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blackie de Swardt (2010), 963 Days at the Junction: A Documented history of Springfontein during the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902 explores every single day of the war, as it was experienced at Springfontein. Privately published. E-mail Blackie at email@example.com.
Dolf Britz (2012), The life and times of Christoph Sandrock, missionary of the Berlin Mission Society during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) at Springfontein, South Africa. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae Vol. 38(2), pp. 223-246, available here.
The most recent text is Doreen Atkinson's edited diary of Gerrit Sem: A Most Awful Excitement: The Boer War Diary of Gerrit Sem of Philippolis, 2010. PDF version available here (1 MB).
For a hard copy, please contact Doreen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Afrikaans, there is AWG Raath's book (1997), Vesting in die Transgariep.
A beautiful book on the war in the Karoo is Rose Willis, Arnold van Dyk and Kay de Villiers (2016), Yeomen of the Karoo: The Story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein, Firefly Publications, Brandfort, (051) 821 1783.
The masterpiece of South African railway books is Boon Boonzaaier (2008), Tracks across the Veld: A Southern African Rail Safari, published privately. See www.boon.co.za, or e-mail email@example.com.
1. Emily's own book, published in 1902: The Brunt of the War and Where it Fell, Methuen, London. It was translated into Afrikaans in 1923, as Die Smarte van die Oorlog en wie dit gely het.
2. The most recent book on Emily Hobhouse, and beautifully illustrated: Elsabe Brits (2016), Beloved Traitor, Tafelberg Publishers. Also available in Afrikaans, as Geliefde Verraaier.
An article on Litnet, by Paul Murray, provides an excellent overview of the literature on Emily Hobhouse.
Notable Boer leaders
Lionel James was an Intelligence Officer in the British forces, during the Third De Wet Hunt. His book (1902) was called On the Heels of De Wet. The book is a fascinating account of the British experiences in the Cape Colony. Available online here.
Johannes Meintjies, (1969), A Sword in the Sand: The Life and Death of Gideon Scheepers, Tafelberg Uitgewers. All Meintjies's books are highly readable, and historically well researched.
Murray, PL (1911) 'Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa' , available electronically at http://www.angloboerwar.com.
Also see WT Reay (1900), Australians in War, available online at www.angloboerwar.com. He was a journalist travelling with the Australian contingents.