The Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) has been called the first modern conflict. This is no compliment… A forward-looking view of the war—the dawn of mass-media coverage, barbed wire, and concentration camps—emphasises the bit parts played by 20th-century personages. Winston Churchill, the neophyte correspondent, making his daring escape from Boer captivity; Mohandas Ghandi’s exertions in the Indian ambulance corps; and Robert Baden-Powell’s devil-may-care dispatches from the Siege of Mafeking (“One or two small field guns shelling the town. Nobody cares”; “All well. Four hours bombardment. One dog killed”), which prefigured his Boy Scout movement by 10 years.