The Victorian soldier in Africa

By Edward Spiers

The Victorian soldier in Africa

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9127-8
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: December 2013
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Military history, European history, HISTORY / Military / General, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Humanities / Military history
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


Available in paperback for the first time, The Victorian soldier in Africa re-examines the campaign experience of British soldiers in Africa during the period, 1874-1902 - the zenith of the Victorian imperial expansion - and does so from the perspective of the regimental soldier. The book utilises an unprecedented number of letters and diaries, written by regimental officers and other ranks, to allow soldiers to speak for themselves about their experience of colonial warfare. The sources demonstrate the adaptability of the British army in fighting in different climates, over demanding terrain and against a diverse array of enemies. They also uncover soldiers' responses to army reforms of the era as well as the response to the introduction of new technologies of war. Moreover, the book provides commentary on soldiers' views of commanding officers and politicians alongside assessment of war correspondents, colonial auxiliaries and African natives in their roles as bearers, allies and enemies.

This book reveals new insights on imperial and racial attitudes within the army, on relations between soldiers and the media and the production of information and knowledge from frontline to homefront. It will make fascinating reading for students, academics and enthusiasts in imperial history, Victorian studies, military history and colonial warfare.


1. Fighting the Asante
2. Campaigning in southern Africa
3. Battling the Boers
4. Intervention in Egypt
5. Engaging the Mahdists
6. The Gordon relief expedition
7. Trekking through Bechuanaland
8. Reconquering the Sudan
9. Re-engaging the Boers


Edward M. Spiers is Professor of Strategic Studies at the University of Leeds

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