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Letters from Mafeking

by Spiers, Edward

Letters from Mafeking Synopsis

Mafeking was the longest and the most controversial of the three sieges that began the South African War in 1899\. Lasting 217 days, the Siege of Mafeking brought a highly charismatic leader to public attention and involved some controversial practices. While of little military significance, the relief of Mafeking produced unprecedented celebrations across Britain and much of its empire. Sustained over several days, such rejoicings led to the creation the verb to maffick, meaning to celebrate both extravagantly and publicly. Such rejoicing reflected not only the build up of emotions during the South African War, but also how Mafeking revived memories of imperial siege histories over the previous fifty years. In this illuminating account of the siege and its aftermath, Edward M. Spiers, a leading authority on Victorian military history, provides fresh insights on the conduct of the siege and its relief. He draws new material from some 120 letters, diary extracts, interviews, and speeches by soldiers and civilians - all uncensored, unlike the press reporting from Mafeking. He rebalances arguments about the command of Baden-Powell, reviews civil-military relations within Mafeking, examines the impact, both physical and psychological, of the most intensive shelling of the war, and accounts for the successful defence and relief of a small, isolated frontier town, bereft of natural defences and effective artillery.

Book Information

ISBN: 9781526710024
Publication date: 14th January 2019
Author: Spiers, Edward
Publisher: Frontline Books an imprint of Pen & Sword Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 288 pages
Categories: Boer Wars, Battles & campaigns, African history,

About Spiers, Edward

EDWARD M. SPIERS is the Professor of Strategic Studies at the School of History, University of Leeds. He is the author of several books and articles on military history, including Letters from Ladysmith and The Late Victorian Army, and co-editor of A Military History of Scotland which won the Saltire Prize for the best book on Scottish history in 2012.

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