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Churchill & Smuts: The Friendship

Publish date: 09 October 2017
Issue Number: 746
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: general

Churchill & Smuts: The Friendship

By Richard Steyn

Jonathan Ball Publishers. R325

The remarkable, and often touching, friendship between Winston Churchill and Jan Smuts is a rich study in contrasts. In youth they occupied very different worlds: Churchill, the rambunctious and thrusting young aristocrat; Smuts, the ascetic, philosophical Cape farm boy who would go on to Cambridge. Brought together first as enemies in the Anglo-Boer War, and later as allies in the First World War, the men forged a friendship which spanned the first half of the 20th century and endured until Smuts' death in 1950. Richard Steyn, author of Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness, examines this close friendship through two world wars and the intervening years, drawing on a maze of archival and secondary sources including letters, telegrams and the voluminous books written about both men. This is a fascinating account of two remarkable men in war and peace: one the leader of the Empire, the other the leader of a small fractious member of that Empire who nevertheless rose to global prominence.

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