Military Miscellany - Naval and Maritime books for sale!


by Will Bennett

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First published 2000
by Leo Cooper; Pen & Sword Books , USA

Book's condition and details:

A navy cloth bound book with gilt lettering to spine; no inscriptions - Condition is NEAR FINE with very little sign of wear.

The unprice-clipped dust wrapper is also in NEAR FINE condition, again with very little sign of wear.

A very nice copy

ISBN: 0 85052 685 X
Royal Mail prices for postage to various destinations
UK postage
Included in price
Airmail Europe
Airmail World Zone 1.
Airmail World Zone 2

260 pages. 165 mm. x 240 mmm. x 32 mm.

Weight wrapped <750 grms.

Price: £14.50 plus postage priced as per table at right!

Will Bennett’s "Absent-Minded Beggars" tells how in December 1899 the Boers inflicted three reverses on the British Army in South Africa. Volunteer units were sent to South Africa amid a wave of jingoistic enthusiasm with little training and, as his book describes, their contribution to Britain’s war effort ranged from the heroic to the farcical. When they came back they were welcomed as heroes.

A small scanned image of "Absent-inded Beggars" by Will Bennett showing the condition and general appearance


The British Empire suffered one of its greatest crises as the 19th century ended. In December 1899 the Boers inflicted three reverses on the regular British Army in South Africa in “Black Week”. A nation grown accustomed to success was stunned.

Part of the answer was a very British blend of patriotism and pragmatism. For the first time civilian volunteers and part-time soldiers were allowed to fight overseas, sparking a popular frenzy.

The main rush to join up came as the new century dawned and, by the end of the Boer War, more than 90,000 men had volunteered to serve.
The involvement of civilians and part-timers horrified traditionalist professional soldiers but it changed the Boer War from the last of the 19th century’s colonial campaigns into the first of the 20th century’s national conflicts.

Rudyard Kipling caught the mood with his poem entitled The Absent-Minded Beggar  (also known as A Gentleman in Khaki)

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Page background adapted from the dust wrapper of Will Bennett's "Absent-Minded Beggars".