With the exception of the Boer War of 1899-1902, the campaigns of the British conquest of Africa are little known today. Lawrence James's vivid study of the period 1870-1920 sees the expansion of the empire as a triumph of technology combined with ideological fervor whipped up in the public by politicians. But it was not an easy triumph, and the book gives due account to dissention at home and the degree of military opposition encountered along 'the far flung battle line'. The Savage Wars also shows how Africa was conquered and at what cost, through the experiences of those men who fought to push forward the frontiers of the new empire.
Drawing on many previously unpublished official and private records, the author describes in fascinating detail the excitement of battle and the humdrum life of the campaigning soldier. Highly illustrated with contemporary photographs, The Savage Wars examines every aspect of fifty years of imperial conquest and is a valuable contribution to an important historical and political debate.