World War I: An Imperial War on the Dark Continent
Author: Edward Paice
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Release Date: September 17, 2008
The definitive history of World War I's forgotten front: Britain versus Germany in East Africa to secure the belly of a continent. 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. It was expected to be a small war, over by Christmas, yet it would continue bloodily for more than four years, even beyond the signing of the Armistice in Europe. Its costs were immense, its butchery staggering (in excess of100,000 British troops and 45,000 native recruits dead). Utmost among the tragic consequences, though, was the waste laid to the land and its indigenous peoples in what one official historian described as a war of extermination and attrition without parallel in modern times. Imperialism had gone calamitously amok. This eye-opening account of the Great War in East Africa does not flinch at the daily horrors of an ill-fated campaign--not just the combat but also a hostile climate, disease, the terrible loneliness--nor does it fail to recount tales of extraordinary courage and the kind of adventure that inspired fiction like C. S. Forester's The African Queen, William Boyd's An Ice-Cream War, and Wilbur Smith's Shout at the Devil, In all, it demonstrates dramatically why even the most hardened of Great War soldiers preferred the trenches of France to the trauma of East Africa.