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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Excerpt from Assegais, Drums & Dragoons by Willem Steenkamp

Assegais, Drums & DragoonsNamibiana Buchdepot have released an extract from Willem Steenkamp’s Assegais, Drums and Dragoons: A Military and Social History of the Cape. The extract is Steenkamp’s foreword to this volume of South African military and social history. In it, he talks about the figure of the foot soldier, and how much respect should be accorded to its vital role.

This book stemmed from a request to the author by the South African Infantry Association that he write an informal history of the South African infantryman of all races through all the eras of this country. The association’s requirements were not onerous, but they were very much to the point. Firstly, the book must be neither a learned treatise on warfare nor a military history textbook. Instead, it must be as readable as possible for both the dedicated military specialist and anybody else, whether of military background or not, who has an interest in the subject, particularly South Africa’s soldiers and ex-soldiers themselves.

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