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Remembered Today:

Tip and Run - The Untold Story of the Great War in Africa


Dolphin

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Tip and Run [iSBN 9 780297 847090] is probably the best book that we're likely to see on the Great War in East Africa. Despite the full title, it doesn't go into the campaigns in Cameroon, Togo and South West Africa.

The book is an excellent history of the struggle that was waged so far from the Western Front, and that tied up large Allied resources in pursuit of a much smaller German force, led by the redoubtable von Lettow-Vorbeck. Unlike some other books on the subject, this one gives an appropriate coverage to the efforts of all the Allied forces: Belgian, British, Portuguese and South African, as well as the massive sacrifice by the native Africans who were persuaded and pressed into service as bearers. The conditions in East Africa were terrible, with disease and geography as stubborn foes as the Germans and their loyal askaris.

While the book is generally very good, there are some minor irritations. The maps are rather difficult to follow - I ended up copying maps from other books and using those, rather than the ones in the book itself. Oddly, the actions of Lt Wilbur Dartnell at Bukoba are mentioned, but not his subsequent VC at Maktau. Lt Ismail, an intelligence officer killed during the disastrous landing at Tanga in 1914, has his name spelt both Ismail and Ismael (is he listed in the CWGC records?).

The above criticisms are very minor. The book is well worth reading as a reminder that not everything in the Great War took place in France and Flanders. The point that really sinks home is that some 100000 African bearers or carriers died during the conflict, ie more than either Australia's, Canada's or the USA's War dead.

Gareth

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Gareth,

I am pleased you enjoyed it, personally I found it a thick book full of other peoples writings that totally failed to address some of the major actions in East Africa. If this book is compared with that written by Charles Miller in 1971 one will see that stylistically and to some extent content is lifted from that veritable tome. Because so much has been written about East Africa there is much repetition of the same sources of information, indeed he even quotes one of my men without mentioning the actions of the battery as a whole. Orders of battle are direct from the OH and Smuts despatch etc etc.

Whilst I agree it is a colossal piece of writing I feel the subject has been covered better elsewhere. I actually read the parts i was interested in in less than 2 hours and learned nothing. In fact too much was missing to take the book as a prime reference.

That is my view and would not doubt the book is useful to students new to this subject. However, i feel the £25 asking price could be better spent to gain better publications.

Roop

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post-16018-1177354478.jpg

2/Lt Ishmael's commemoration in the British & Indian Memorial Cemetery, Tanga

Gareth

A good review - thanks.

"Tip & Run" is the best & most recently written account for the reader who wants an introduction to the East African Campaign.

When you write a book, what do you put in & what do you leave out?

And more importantly, what does the editor cut out!

It's not a perfect world but let's say thanks to Edward Paice for his book, which will help more people understand the Campaign, & in particular the ordeal of the Africans involved.

(Buy it at Amazon, get 44% reduction & help the Forum!)

Regards

Harry

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I'm reading and enjoying the book now. The author gave an interesting talk at the Society for Army Historical Research AGM on Wednesday, so picked up a copy. Prior to that my total sum of knowledge was "We were given a bit of a run around in E Africa by some double-barrelled German chap". So at the ripe old age of 59 I am acquiring knowledge. As regards maps, to really follow any account of military action you need to have a separate map alongside. Otherwise you get lazy about hopping back all the time and suddenly think "what on earth are they talking about now?"

£25.... I bet you could drink that in 2 hours in London and still give a good account of yourself to the Mother-in-Law.

Edwin

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I was looking at a copy earlier today and debating whether to buy or not. In the end I decided to see if I could find a review first and settled for a book on "The Somme". Typically for me it was one with a difference. "On my way to the Somme" covers the New Zealand Division and it's part in the 1916 offensive, much of the involvement being in the later phases. A review will follow in due course.

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I read Tip & Run and found it hard going to start with until I had got my head round the geography and the units a bit more; something you never quite achieve. However, as a general history for a WW1 minded reader it is a very good book. I would imagine that people more versed on the African war will not be so impressed. But it is a great introduction to an area of the war I knew absolutely nothing about. It all depends how you want to spend your £25!

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I enjoyed it and as it is the first book I have in my library on this aspect of the war,it is invaluable!

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  • 3 months later...

The Dutch newspaper " NRC-Handelsblad " is discussing today this book.

Gilbert Deraedt :mellow:

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