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Andries Pretorius, Voortrekker Leader in Natal: Blood River to Congella, 1838-1842

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Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus Pretorius was the last great Voortrekker leader to leave the Cape Colony. He came to the fore in the period after the deaths of Piet Retief and Gert Maritz, and in what subsequently became for many years the most celebrated, mythologized and contested event of ‘The Great Trek’ led the Boers to victory against the Zulu at Blood River in December 1838, before helping to establish the unrecognised ‘Republic of Natalia’. The republic was short-lived, the Voortrekkers’ native policy engendering a British response, culminating in military defeat in 1842. First published in Afrikaans in 1977, Andries Pretorius in Natal by historian Ben Liebenberg sent shock waves through sections of South African society. Influenced by Dutch historian Jan Romein (1893–1962), Liebenberg perceived that not only was the established narrative of ‘The Great Trek’ based on inadequate historical methodology, but also that little dispassionate research had actually been carried out in the relevant archives. After painstaking archival research and employing a spartan, analytical and determinably unromantic approach to writing history, Liebenberg successfully deconstructed some of the most contentious myths of ‘The Great Trek’ and Afrikaner Nationalist ideology. In publicising his conclusions, he was then caught up in, and in some measure contributed to, the political and cultural turmoil that marked the beginning of the end of the apartheid state. As a result of these events, Andries Pretorius in Natal was never reissued in a revised edition or made available in an English translation. That it should be has become ever more apparent. The work is not only of enduring scholarly value and an essential point of reference (the depth of research on which the book is based is without equal, and likely to remain so), but it is also of unique cultural and historiographical significance. This translation undertaken by Hugh Driver provides the general English-speaking reader with a scholarly, but at the same time accessible text. It is, in more ways than one, a compelling narrative.Dr Hugh Driver gained an MA in War Studies from King’s College London, and a D.Phil in modern history at Oriel College, Oxford. He is the author of The Birth of Military Aviation: Britain, 1903–1914 (Royal Historical Society, Studies in History, 1997), Lord Northcliffe and the Early Years of Rolls-Royce (Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, 1998) and a contributor to Putnam’s History of Aircraft Pioneer Aircraft: Early Aviation before 1914 (Putnam, 2002).

Additional Information

Book Condition New
SKU 9798610047126
Author Liebenberg, B. L.; Driver, Hugh (translator)
Dimensions 228mm x 150mm
Format Softcover
Pages 366
Published Date 8 Feb 2020
Publisher Hugh Driver
Language English
Genre SA History
Series No

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