Contact 1: A Pictorial History of the Rhodesian War : the Beginnings (Hardback)
  • Contact 1: A Pictorial History of the Rhodesian War : the Beginnings (Hardback)

Contact 1: A Pictorial History of the Rhodesian War : the Beginnings (Hardback)

Hardback Published: 28/10/2016
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Contact 1 has been out of print since the late 1970s, despite the constant demand to reprint it. Now there is the chance for a new generation to read this iconic book. Contact 1 was conceived by College Press, in what was then Salisbury, Rhodesia, the rebel British colony. John Lovett was an expert medal collector who had served in the Royal Air Force, and later in the 'A' Reserve of the British South Africa Police. Contact 1 covers the war from its beginnings when UDI - the Unilateral Declaration of Independence - was announced on 11 November 1965. But no government ever recognized Rhodesia, not even South Africa, then under apartheid rule. Initially, the war consisted of relatively minor skirmishes. In 1972, the conflict began in earnest. From 1972 to 1976, the war was largely a stalemate. After 1976, the conflict became much more widespread and intense, until by the end of 1979 the whole country was engulfed in fighting. 'Contact 1' considers the period 1965-1976. The sequel, Contact 2, by Paul Moorcraft, describes the most intense period of the war, the last three years. Together they provide an unrivalled photographic history of the war, as well as the complete record of decorations and the roll of honor from 1965-1980. Over seventy-five percent of those who fought in the Rhodesian security forces were blacks - the struggle was then couched largely in Cold-War terms as a battle against Soviet- and Chinese-inspired communism, not African nationalism. Both those surviving from the war and their sons, daughters and grandchildren, as well as military experts and enthusiasts who did not experience the war, will enjoy re-living those tumultuous times. 'Contact 1' is written in a confident style, in the middle of a war, which white Rhodesians believed they could not lose. In retrospect, it might appear naive propaganda, but that is a perspective from the hindsight of over three decades. Setting aside moral issues - and there were many atrocities on both sides - the Rhodesian military fought with great skill, bravery and determination - against heavy odds. Military staff colleges throughout the world study the campaign for lessons in counter-insurgency at the tactical and operational levels. Strategically, the war could not have been won without massive intervention from the West and South Africa. By 1979, the war was lost. And by accident the most conservative prime minister in recent British history, Margaret Thatcher, contributed to the first electoral success of a Marxist leader in Africa: Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe was born. 'Contact 1' provides an enthralling insight into a British colony that rebelled against the Crown and tried to preserve white rule in a country in which it was outnumbered 25:1. It was an argument with history as well as arithmetic. At the time, however, many whites believed that Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith would find a way out of the diplomatic and military impasse. This is a passionate study of a lost war, and yet to many Rhodesians it was the time of their lives, despite the tragedies. It was a time of madness but almost all fought for what they believed was right - to defend their families, their culture, their muscular Christianity and their country. Now that country is but a memory."

Publisher: Helion & Company
ISBN: 9781909384590

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