The 1918 “Blue Book” Report on the Natives of South-West Africa and Their Treatment by Germany, is based on the voluntary statements taken under oath of no less than 50 African witnesses. This testimony was combined with numerous German colonial documents to produce, not only a stinging indictment of German colonial policy in German South West Africa, but also the first detailed eyewitness accounts of the first genocide of the twentieth century. However, within ten years of being printed, orders were issued for the destruction of all copies of the “Blue Book” within the British Empire.
The editors have investigated how the Blue Book came into being, provided background information to the events and people described, and sought to discover the original German documents upon which so much of the Blue Book material is based. The particular usefulness of the book lies in the fact that it gives voice to African testimony regarding the first genocide of the Twentieth Century.
Jan-Bart Gewald, Ph.D. (1996) in History, University of Leiden, is a researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. He has published extensively on African history including Herero Heroes: A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Southwestern Africa 1890 - 1920 (Oxford 1999).
Jeremy Silvester, Ph.D. (1994) in History, teaches in the history department of the University of Namibia. He has a particular interest in public history, and has written and published widely on Namibia history.
'Silvester and Gewald's annotated reprint of the 1918 British Blue book.. offers a chilling glimpse of colonial violence and monumental injustice.'
J.O. Gump, University of San Diego
Recommended by Choice.
All those interested in African history, Colonial History, the History of Genocide, German History, and the history of imperialism as a whole, as well as all those interested in human rights and crimes against humanity.