Abraham Esau's War: A Black South African War in the Cape, 1899-1902

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The South African War 1899–1902 is no longer treated as 'a white man's war' by historians. Black South Africans were drawn into service by both sides, and the war affected the black communities in a variety of complex ways. Dr Nasson has written a closely focused regional study of the conflict in the Cape Colony, describing the dramatic participation of black people in the conduct of the war, and their subsequent exclusion from the fruits of peace. (The Abraham Esau, of the title, a patriotic coloured artisan, was murdered by Boer guerrillas.) Dr Nasson sets the conflict in the context of Cape political culture and social life at the turn of the century. This is a major contribution to South African and Imperial history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
' … elegant and erudite narrative. Nasson convinces the reader that the study of war is an excellent tool for revealing the central social fissures in an historical situation, and he does so with acuity and dash.' The Journal of African History

' … provides important insights into our undetstanding of the impact of the war on people … unravelling the reactions of the populace to a warr that few desired and most detested.' Southern African Review of Books

' … a fascinating story, a superbly told … an outstanding work of scholarship, and superbly crafted … further studies on the black experience of the South African War will be indebted to Nasson's pioneering work.' The South African Historical Journal

' … very fine and compelling study filled with multiple black and white voices, as well as the sensitive interpretations of the author … densely packed with detail and imaginatively crafted. It endeavours to capture a piece of the complexity of human experience.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

' … there is a meaty dish here. The story which Nasson has to tell is a compelling one.' The Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521530590
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/13/2003
  • Series: African Studies Series, #68
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 271
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgement; Preface; Abbreviations; Illustrations and maps; 1. Introduction: perspectives and place; 2. Colonial state, imperial army and peace-keeping; 3. The politics of patriotism; 4. Arms and patriotism: town guards and district militia; 5. Moving Lord Kitchener: military transport and supply work; 6. The Republican guerrilla war in the countryside; 7. Martyrdom, myth and memory: Abraham Esau's war; 8. Treason offenders and their antagonists; 9. Peace and reconquest; Bibliography.

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