Fresh off the press: Milner: Last of the empire builders by Richard Steyn

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Milner: Last of the empire builders
Richard Steyn
Publisher: Jonathan Ball
ISBN: 9781776191789

Lord Alfred Milner was a brilliant public servant and one of Britain’s most famous empire builders who left an indelible imprint on the history of South Africa.

Milner was a prominent figure in the Anglo-Boer War – a conflict that proved to be the beginning of the end of the British Empire. After the war, a determined Milner set out to reconstruct the country by leaving behind a group of young administrators who contributed to the unification of South Africa, but also resentment among Afrikaners for their mentor’s language and education policies.

Back in England, Milner involved himself via the House of Lords in all the great issues of British politics, while continuing to promote the ends of Empire through the activities of the Round Table movement.

This biography, the first by a South African, argues that Milner’s reputation should not be defined by his eight years’ service in South Africa alone as he did much to shape the Allied victory in the First World War. If his personal qualities and beliefs made him the wrong man to send to South Africa, he was the right man in a far greater international conflict.

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