Thomas Pakenham is the author of THE MOUNTAINS OF RASSELAS, THE YEAR OF LIBERTY and THE BOER WAR. He divides his time between a terraced house I nnNorth Kensington, London and a crumbling castle in Ireland. He is married to the writer Valerie Pakenham and they have four children.
Thomas Pakenham wrote what remains the best single book on the Boer War. In The Scramble for Africa he sets out to explore just why and how in a few short years from 1880 various European powers carved up the African continent. The European colonial take-over was ostensibly the product of a crusading zeal to free Africa from slavery and backwardness by way of Livingstone's 3 Cs - Commerce, Christianity and Civilization. The book does not suffer from being avowedly Eurocentric, but its chief virtue is dealing with a fascinating story of enormous complexity with absolute precision and clarity. Pakenham shows how this all became an exercise in the coercion and military conquest of the African peoples. This is like exploring history in a Rolls Royce. (Kirkus UK)