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Sue Grant-Marshall Reviews The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War by Elizabeth van Heyningen

The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War: A Social HistoryVerdict: carrot

MOST people, faced with the task of writing a social history of concentration camps, let alone those in which at least 26,000 mainly women and children Afrikaners died, would shudder and shy away from such an emotive and divisive topic. It helps to explain why, for half a century, little has emerged from the extensive archival records on the camps that were released in SA in the 1950s.

But now Elizabeth van Heyningen, who was a history lecturer and researcher at the University of Cape Town for many years, has bravely stepped up to the plate. It helps that her decades-long research, and the subject matter of two books she co-authored, have been concerned with the social history of medicine and the history of colonial women. In addition, she conducted research for a project, funded by the Wellcome Trust (a global charitable health foundation) on the medical history of the camps.

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