Rhodesian War

A Military History

By Paul L. Moorcroft and Peter McLaughlin

This book will give a good overview of the Rhodesian War, the tactics, the factions, the main events, but if it is the only book you read on the Rhodesian War you will deprive yourself of a sense of the zeitgiest vital to understanding what happened in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe during this period.

As often happens with war history the true story is really the emotional one; the fears and hopes of both sides and the gulf between the mentality of the belligerants (and more importatly the innocents). This book captures none of that, none of the true complexity of the Rhodesian War. It is a factual account careful not to infringe on popular modern sensilbilities, and in its brevity some of the issues that warrant deeper explanation are not explored (which is probably why one of the reviewers found it inaccuarate). That said, there are PLENTY of books out there dealing with the all the psychology, angst and personal histories. This book is short, well written, and (as an Irishman man who was born in Rhodesia) is a book I have no problem lending to my work colleagues in Dublin who want to know more about our history. If you lived there (or fought there) it might frustrate you a bit because of its inadequacies but you will never get a perfect book on the subject and as a general intorduction/overview I actually found it good.


Brendan T. Mckenna "Brenox"


This is the updated 2007 edition of the 1982 book. Despite its title this book is concerned not just with the various military actions but with the political and economic history. The coverage is admirably wide, so it is not just the elite fire teams or Selous Scouts that get a mention but also, for example, the more mundane police units. Similarly the guerrillas are covered in detail especially interesting being the stages when a conventional invasion of Rhodesia seemed possible and very large forces built up outside Rhodesia.

The theme of the book seems to be that the Smith Government lacked anything with which to encourage the black population to its side. The French in Algeria paid lip service to "One France" and used the blue kepis to spread some benefits to the muslim population. But in Rhodesia the whole point of the RF government was to retain white control; and they lacked the vision (a vision few minorities in power have) to give a little in order to keep some of the pie. For such an inflexible group Rhodesians proved skilled masters at getting round the rather half-hearted limits the outside world placed on them, and the book deals in detail with the importance of the view from Pretoria in determining the fate of Salisbury/Harare. A well rounded account.


Charles Vasey


Interesting in part but many inaccuracies involving details of units and modus operandi. Tends to deride the hard work that the forces tried to achieve, I dont know why the authors remained in country if they loathed it so much.


Mr. M. R. Moran