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Queen Victoria's Little Wars

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  420 ratings  ·  27 reviews
From 1837 to 1901, in Asia, China, Canada, Africa, and elsewhere, military expedition were constantly being undertaken to protect resident Britons or British interests, to extend a frontier, to repel an attack, avenge an insult, or suppress a mutiny or rebellion. Continuous warfare became an accepted way of life in the Victorian era, and in the process the size of the ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 17th 1985 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 1972)
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Jill Hutchinson
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
Note: This is a re-read for me and I stand by my original review. Great book!
______________________________

Farwell strikes again!!!!....another terrific book by one of the great historians of the British experience. This one covers the reign of Queen Victoria and the "little wars" that were constantly in progress over that 60+ years. Some were outright wars...the Crimean and the Boer.....and some were just skirmishes that lasted from a week to several months and have been forgotten (or are
...more
Dimitri
Farwell leaves me wanting for more. He promises not to focus on the famous Victorian campaigns, but he does. The Crimea, the Indian Mutiny, the retreat from Kabul, the Sundan and the Boer shuffle into a crowded limelight. Give me more Xhosa to go with the Zulus. He promises not to focus on battles, but his battle descriptions raise the blood. Give me more bodies scarred all over by decades of mutilating bravery. One promised focus he sticks to is the "gentlemen", the officers, as a social class, ...more
Dimitri
Farwell leaves me wanting for more. He promises not to focus on the famous Victorian campaigns, but he does. The Crimea, the Indian Mutiny, the retreat from Kabul, the Sundan and the Boer shuffle into a crowded limelight. Give me more Xhosa to go with the Zulus. He promises not to focus on battles, but his battle descriptions raise the blood. Give me more bodies scarred all over by decades of mutilating bravery. One promised focus he sticks to is the "gentlemen", the officers, as a social class, ...more
Paul
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Queen Victoria’s Little Wars

The author, Byron Farwell noted, that in the last quarter of the nineteenth century little wars came ever more frequently. There were plenty of military campaigns, plenty of revolts to quash and full scams wars, from the time of Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne until her death, and until this book nobody had ever counted them.

When the author researched this book, he noted that was not a single year in Victoria’s long reign that the British Army in its various
...more
Matthew
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was read as a reinforcement of Thomas Pakenham’s The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912. The scope of the Queen Victoria’s Little Wars is larger than The Scramble for Africa, as it covers wars that occurred in North America and Asia as well as those on Africa, though at the same time the scope is smaller as it only concerned with Great Britain and military history. The style of Queen Victoria’s Little Wars is different too, as, while very ...more
Alex
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Good brief synopses of the many wars of Colonial Wars fought under the reign of Queen Victoria. Some were very interesting. Some are not.
Jrobertus
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
According to the author, British troops were engaged in various wars, punitive expeditions and related activities every single year of Victoria’s 64 year reign. These involve several in Afghanistan, many in India, Burma, China, Egypt, Sudan, the Crimea, and finally in South Africa. Farwell does a wonderful job describing the culture of the empire, the desire, even the yearning of young men of the middle and upper middle class to prove themselves in combat. He describes the local nature and ...more
Keith
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Very light on details, as it covers some 60 years of near constant warfare, but it does give a good overview of the amount and pace of combat for the British Empire during the period. The author is a bit of an officer groupie (I was enlisted, so you can imagine that I am not) and it was written in 1973, so for some readers it might be a bit stilted, but I loved it. It also included quite a bit about Queen Victoria and her attitudes toward "her" military, which was enlightening.
Howard
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that gives enough detail, without being overwhelming. It's a fascinating time in history that often goes little noticed. The book is written in an interesting fashion that keeps the readers attention and brings out the personalities of the major players in the events.
Joe
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great little read about the victories and defeats of the Victorian British Army.
S2 Mc
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-world
Publisher could have included maps. Droll humor was a plus.
William DuFour
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding book about the "Savage wars of Peace" with Victorian personalities that would astound today's eccentrics as being able and unable to command.
Jim Pfluecke
Feb 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting book. This is not a history of the wars of the Victorian period but rather a collection of snapshots from the majority of the "small wars" fought in that period. It is as much about the British officers who fought the wars as it is the actual battles and campaigns.

So, if you are looking for geo-politics, the Great Game, or detailed campaign or battle narratives, this is the wrong place to go. What this book does offer is insight into the character, ambitions, and lives of the
...more
Fred Dameron
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
quick read with a lot of good detail about "The Little Wars" of Victoria's reign. The wars of Empire were fascinating and fired young men's imaginations well into the 20th and 21'st Centuries. Farwell does an excellent job of describing the actions and personalities that made up The British Army during the 19th Century. But, his last few chapters seem to have been written as if on a dead line or that he had just grown board with the project and wanted to be done with it. Over all though an ...more
Dennis Boccippio
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, 19th-century
Incredibly (exhaustively) (insanely) well researched, but alas pretty dry. An interesting account of the more obscure skirmishes and colorful characters associated with the expansion and preservation of the British empire in the 1800s.
Jacqueline
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting overview of the wars that made the "Pax Britannica" possible. Even the author admits that his research was incomplete, as record-keeping for the time was a bit less rigorous; that means that for the scores of "little wars that we know of, there are actually dozens more.
Devon  Start
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
similar is style to eminant victorian soldiers. each war is given a small section highlighting the action, the general motivation of the british governemnt and any personages of note involved in the war.
essential reading for anyone interested in the victorian era of warfare(roughly 1830s to 1918)
Jamie
Dec 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I really tried to finish this book, but it's not going to happen. It's not that it's a bad book, just that it didn't hold my attention. Each chapter you're introduced to a different war and a different list of names and it was hard to connect them chronologically or philosophically.
Kyle Worlitz
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
So far its rather dry, but full of really interesting details of some really exotic wars.
Gail Carriger
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Nice read on the Victorian regimental system and the small wars that occurred during the prosperous and supposedly peaceful bulk of Victoria's reign.
Jesse Toldness
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it
What it says on the tin.
sologdin
british empire magnanimously liberates various locales from various locals.
Jonathan
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great little book that ties together 19th century British imperialism. Well worth a read. Fun and informative.
Raving Redcoat
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, asia, british
Fascinating look at the wars of the late 19th century.
Shawnee
rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2015
Ralph N. Eubanks
rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2016
Jim
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2017
Charly Ballad
rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2016
Sam
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Aug 01, 2014
Russell
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Apr 06, 2012
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Farwell graduated from Ohio State University and the University of Chicago (M.A., 1968). He served in World War II as a captain of engineers attached to the Mediterranean Allied Air Force in the British Eighth Army area and later also saw combat in the Korean War. He separated from the military after seven years of active duty.

As a civilian, he became director of public relations and director of
...more