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The African Rank-and-File: Social Implications of Colonial Military Service in the King’s African Rifles, 1902-1964, by Timothy H. Parsons

Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1999. Pp. xviii, 302. Illus, map, tables, append., notes, biblio., index. . ISBN:0-325-00140-5.

The military reputation of the King’s African Rifles, built in two world wars, belies the fact that the corps was for most of its career essentially a constabulary intended to support Britain’s rule in its East African colonies. The African Rank-and-File is a well written, readable social history of the KAR. Although there is some operational material in the volume, it concentrates on ethnic composition, recruiting policies, and similar administrative and political aspects of the KAR, rather than on its military exploits. Worth reading for anyone interested in the military history of Africa.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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