Arthur Conan Doyle

The Great Boer War

Arthur Conan-Doyle’s classic account of the Second Anglo-Boer War, originally published in 1901, remains the standard by which all other accounts of the conflict are measured. Compiled by the author while serving as a medical doctor in Bloemfontein, the book starts by covering the origin of the Boer republics, and their dealings with the British and other emigrants on the Rand which laid the foundation of the casus belli.

From there it moves onto a fast-moving and factual account of the various battles and campaigns which saw initial British defeats turned into rapid advances into the Boer heartlands. The expected Boer surrender then never materialised, and the conflict devolved into a hard-fought guerrilla war which saw nearly twice as many British troops deployed into the Boer republics as the latter’s entire population: men, women, and children combined.

A riveting story which has lost none of its drama in the past century, and whose reverberations can still be felt to the present day.

Now completely reset and updated with 194 new footnotes explaining terms, personalities, and events to the present-day reader, in addition to all 19 original footnotes by the author.

“Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth.

“Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism.

“Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer—the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain.

“Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these bard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles.”—From the first chapter.

About the author: Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (1859–1930) was a Scottish writer and physician, most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.


Chapter I: The Boer Nations

Chapter II: The Cause of Quarrel

Chapter III: The Negotiations

Chapter IV: The Eve of War

Chapter V: Talana Hill

Chapter VI: Elandslaagte And Rietfontein

Chapter VII: Battle of Ladysmith

Chapter VIII: Lord Methuen’s Advance

Chapter IX: Battle of Magersfontein

Chapter X: Battle of Stormberg

Chapter XI: Battle of Colenso

Chapter XII: The Dark Hour

Chapter XIII: The Siege of Ladysmith

Chapter XIV: The Colesberg Operations

Chapter XV: Spioen Kop

Chapter XVI: Vaalkranz

Chapter XVII: Buller’s Final Advance

Chapter XVIII: The Siege And Relief of Kimberley

Chapter XIX: Paardeberg

Chapter XX: Roberts’ Advance on Bloemfontein

Chapter XXI: Strategic Effects of Lord Roberts’ March

Chapter XXII: The Halt At Bloemfontein

Chapter XXIII: The Clearing of The South-East

Chapter XXIV: The Siege of Mafeking

Chapter XXV: The March On Pretoria

Chapter XXVI: Diamond Hill—Rundle’s Operations

Chapter XXVII: The Lines of Communication

Chapter XXVIII: The Halt At Pretoria

Chapter XXIX: The Advance to Komatipoort

Chapter XXX: The Campaign of De Wet

Chapter XXXI: The Guerilla Warfare in the Transvaal: Nooitgedacht

Chapter XXXII: The Second Invasion of Cape Colony

Chapter XXXIII: The Northern Operations From January to April 1901

Chapter XXXIV: The Winter Campaign From April to September 1901

Chapter XXXV: The Guerilla Operations In Cape Colony

Chapter XXXVI: The Spring Campaign From September to December 1901

Chapter XXXVII: The Campaign of January to April 1902

Chapter XXXVIII: De la Rey’s Campaign of 1902

Chapter XXXIX: The End

Appendix 1: Total military casualties on both sides

Appendix 2: Boer prisoner of war camps in the Caribbean, the island of St. Helena, Ceylon and India

Appendix 3: British concentration camps and their effect upon the Boer population


 324 pages. 8.5″ x 11″ (US Letter size). Paperback.


Additional information

Weight 26.71 oz
Dimensions 8.5 × 0.57 × 11 in

Arthur Conan Doyle

You may also like…