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British Military Perspectives On Africa In The Late Nineteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

What prompted British soldiers to write about their African experiences in prodigious numbers? There were grumbles about privations when hacking their way through the tropical rain forest of West Africa or trudging through the deserts of Egypt and the Sudan. In fact, the 'scramble for Africa' produced an abundance of material written, sketched, and photographed by soldiers, and this material so interested its recipients that they passed it on to local newspapers. Military writing not only recounted experiences in alien settings, battles survived, and enemies encountered, but it also sought in many cases to make a point. They were only part of a much broader phenomenon, but in time of war they complemented the reports, sketches, and photographs of special correspondents, providing personalized insights, eyewitness descriptions, and value judgments that sustained interest in the conflicts.

Keywords: British military; South African War (1899-1902)



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