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Publisher's Summary

The epic story of the Boer War and Harry 'Breaker' Morant: drover, horseman, bush poet - murderer or hero?

Most Australians have heard of the Boer War of 1899 to 1902 and of Harry 'Breaker' Morant, a figure who rivals Ned Kelly as an archetypal Australian folk hero. Born in England and emigrating to Queensland in 1883 in his early 20s, Morant was a charming but reckless man who established a reputation as a rider, polo player and writer. He submitted ballads to The Bulletin that were published under the name 'The Breaker' and counted Banjo Paterson as a friend. When appeals were made for horsemen to serve in the war in South Africa, Morant joined up, first with the South Australian Mounted Rifles and then with a South African irregular unit, the Bushveldt Carbineers.

In October 1901 Morant and two other Australians, Lieutenants Peter Handcock and George Witton, were arrested for the murder of Boer prisoners. Morant and Handcock were court-martialled and executed in February 1902 as the Boer War was in its closing stages, but the debate over their convictions continues to this day.

Does Breaker Morant deserve his iconic status? Who was Harry Morant? What events and passions led him to a conflict that was essentially an Imperial war, played out on a distant continent under a foreign flag? Was he a scapegoat for British war crimes or a criminal himself?

With his trademark brilliant command of story, Peter FitzSimons unravels the many myths and fictions that surround the life of Harry Morant. The truths FitzSimons uncovers about 'The Breaker' and the part he played in the Boer War are astonishing - and, in the hands of this master storyteller, make compelling listening.

©2020 Peter FitzSimons (P)2020 Hachette Australia Pty Ltd

What listeners say about Breaker Morant

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Disturbing and brilliant

Although I read a lot of military history, I did not know much about the Boer War 1899-1902.
This book is a superb retelling of that war, from its origins, events, and conclusions. Very interesting. Quite compelling. Rather disturbing. Very well referenced, with official documents, newspaper articles, letters, and interviews.
I had not been aware that concentration camps were invented by the British, (and taken to their horrifying conclusion by the Nazis, and lately the Chinese).
This was a horrible war, and the book pulls no punches.
The Breaker Morant saga occupies the second half of the book, and it is truly horrifying, riveting, and is a convincing version.
I managed very little sleep over the three days that I listened to this 23 hour book, and it has provoked much subsequent thinking.
The narration is generally very Australian and very good, but the British accents are invariably of the foppish upper class twittish variety, even when applied to non officer ranks.
Thoroughly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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Magnificent.

Peter Fitzsimons, you legend. I knew bits and pieces about the Breaker from school and different books I've read, but this book tells it just how it happened. Thankyou to everybody involved in the research, writing and presentation of this magnificent book. Finally the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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very thorough

Very thorough and well written but very long.
narrator a bit over the top with accents and voices.

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Awesome story

As always well written and researched . Fantastic narration as well , felt like I was actually there

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Very enjoyable and interesting read

I thought the book was extremely well written and fairly presented. I learnt alot about the Boer war that I didn’t know and details about Australia’s involvement in it. Being from South Africa I found this particularly interesting. I thought the accents on the audible were ok but the Boer accent was not that accurate. All in all a definite recommendation.

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A great listen about the 'Breaker'

Supreme re-telling of the events in South Africa in 1901. For too many years, we have heard about the travesty of justice inflicted upon Morant and Handcock who were just 'following orders' when committing murder. Whilst essays, plays and a movie focussed on just a few murders, the evidence presented in the book shows that many more occurred - any of which would have led to execution in 1902. Like Ned Kelly, Morant was a killer with a flair for publicity. Excellent narrative with the performance including plausible accents ( to an Australian ear) and even singing to set the scene .

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Factual objective informative and thoroughly entertaining

Great listening, masterful narration highly recommended. Not only about Mourant but a instructive introduction to the history of sth Africa and the Boer war.

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A hero with feet of clay!

May everyone who listen to- or read this book, gain a better understanding of the hell of war, and the suffering of innocent people.! There are some interesting parallels with the current allegations of war crimes committed by elite Australian Special Forces.

The mis-pronunciation of just about every afrikaans name or expression detracts a little bit from an otherwise brilliant narration.

Thank-you for a very well researched and balanced story, very hard to put down!

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Wow wow wow well written, amazing and informative

Spectacular, always loved the storey of breaker, but this opens my eyes and amazed me. Could not stop listening. Not sure I concur with the conclusions in the epilogue, but for a story everyone knows the conclusion of it held me spell bound.

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Rivetting

I couldn't stop listening to it. such a horrible war made worse by greed and murder. the narrator was absolutely amazing, too. His accents were easy on the ears and he was enthusiastic to the last page. He really was brilliant. such an amazing and sad tale. highly recommended.

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