Emily Hobhouse (Hardback)
It is perhaps understandable that Emily Hobhouse has not to date received the recognition she deserves in her own country, given that she found herself on the wrong side of the kinds of stories that national histories like to tell - opposing British internment camps during the war against the Boers in southern Africa and as a pacifist during the First World War - but it is high time, in 2018, that the contribution of this remarkable Englishwoman was rediscovered. Author Elsabe Brits travelled in Emily Hobhouse's footsteps, retracing her inspirational, often astonishing story. In the home of the granddaughter of Emily's younger brother, Jennifer Hobhouse Balme, in Canada, Brits found not just Emily's scrap books and numerous letters, but also her diaries, of which she had been unaware, to add to Emily's draft autobiography that Elsabe had found in a South African archive. With these revealing new sources, Brits brings to life a colourful story of war, heroism and passion, spanning three continents.Brits tells the story of an extraordinary Englishwoman and her lifelong fight for justice, both during the Anglo-Boer South African War and during the First World War. Defying the constraints of her gender and class, Emily Hobhouse travelled across continents and spoke out against oppression. A passionate pacifist and a feminist, she opposed both the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War and the First World War, which led to accusations of treason. Despite saving thousands of lives in two wars, she died alone - spurned by her country, her friends and even some of her relatives. During the Anglo-Boer War, tens of thousands of Boer women and children were forced into concentration camps which were set up by the British Army after 30,000 farms were burned and livestock and crops destroyed. Official statistics show that 27,927 Boer women and children died in these camps, though recent estimates suggest that the number may have been closer to 32,000. It is estimated that between 15,000 and 25,000 black people - the majority of them children - died in concentration camps. There were more than a 100 such camps.Hobhouse was later an avid opponent of the First World War, protesting vigorously against it. She organised the writing, signing and publishing in January 1915 of the 'Open Christmas Letter' addressed 'To the Women of Germany and Austria'. Through her offices, thousands of women and children were fed daily for more than a year in central Europe after this war.Hobhouse's ashes are ensconced in a niche in the National Women's Monument at Bloemfontein in South Africa, but she has never received the recognition she deserves, and so longed for, in her own country.