The war declared by the Boers on 11 October 1889 gave the British, as Kipling said, 'no end of a lesson.' The public expected it to be over by ... Show synopsis The war declared by the Boers on 11 October 1889 gave the British, as Kipling said, 'no end of a lesson.' The public expected it to be over by Christmas. It proved to be the longest (two and three quarter years), the costliest (GBP200 million), the bloodiest (at least 22 000 British, 25 000 Boer and 12 000 African lives) and the most humiliating war Britain fought between 1815 and 1914. Thomas Pakenham has written the first full-scale documentary history of the war to be attempted since 1910. His narrative is based on first-hand and largely unpublished sources. He has combed the original British documents in the Public Record Office and the material in South African archives. He has traced the private papers of Sir Redvers Buller - the British Commander-in-Chief in 1899 - letters which had remained hidden under the billiard table at Buller's house in Devon. He has unearthed new material from Lord Roberts' papers, discovered a massive secret journal of the war compiled by the War office intelligence department. Out of this historical goldmine, Thomas Pakenham has constructed a narrative as vivid and fast-moving as a novel.