Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879

Henry Bulwer, 1st Baron Dalling and Bulwer.

Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. Henry Herbert, 7th Earl of Carnarvon.

Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of by Saul David | LibraryThing

Frederic Thesiger, 2nd Baron Chelmsford. Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield. Sir Michael Hicks Beach. Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby. Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom. Battle of Rorke's Drift Good Book Guide Book of the Year Saul David's "Zulu" is an accurate, informative, and well-researched account of the Zulu war of However, I have to admit that I found this book to be extremely dry and a very exhausting read.

I greatly appreciated Saul David's efforts to tell the real story, but it could be that he may have gone a little too far with needless details. I must confess, I eventually shelved the book and never finished it. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. This is a deeply researched, easily read and gripping book.

Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879

It describes in lucid detail both the military aspects and the personal intrigues of those involved in a basically unprovoked campaign in the late nineteenth century by the British to subdue the Zulu nation, a nation of the bravest of warriors who lost thousands of men defending the borders of their territory. Disraeli and his government hampered by the lack of rapid communication, it took almost a month for a letter to make its way from England to South Africa, basically opposed large scale hostilities but were always a step behind a their scheming generals.

Saul David's "Zulu" is a meticulously researched must-read for fans of last stands. Try the arrogance of the British Empire caught up short by spear-wielding indigenous armies. Written like a novel and documented like evidence, "Zulu" is my kind of history. Very well written and informative book. It truly brings the reader to the times and provides keen insight to everything from the politics to the the tactics employed during this period.

The included maps are of great benefit for those who are not familiar with the region as I am not , and the descriptive text helps the reader to visualize the environment the British Army, Native Contingents, and the Zulus operated in. A good read for those with an interest in the history of this region or for those who wish to learn more about this time period and the Zulu wars.

I highly recommend this book as it is an extremely interesting story written by someone who knows how to keep a reader awake way past his bedtime! You can't beat this one for action, irony and character study all wrapped around accurate history. The author weaves his tale in good order never letting one part of the story get too far ahead of the rest. It is a BIG subject which he manages to condense without losing anything in the process. If you like to read about military disasters and are fascinated by the "How and Why" this is right in your wheelhouse.

I absolutely loved this one. See all 17 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 5 months ago. Published 1 year ago. Published on August 22, Published on April 10, Published on October 29, Published on May 16, What other items do customers buy after viewing this item? There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations.

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Among the requirements was the disbanding of the Zulu Army, the residence in Zululand of a British Agent, and a levy of hundreds of cattle.

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All this to be carried out in 30 days. It was pretextual, supplying a casus belli for an invasion of Zululand. Thus started the Anglo-Zulu War of , the most famous of the many frontier wars of Africa. It is a tragedy, first and foremost, which ended in the sundering of the Zulu Nation. David begins with a brief introductory chapter on the Zulus. In a blisteringly short period of time, the Zulus — founded in the late 17th century — went from an unknown tribe to the dominant power in southeast Africa.

Shaka grew the army from to 20, men, and expanded Zulu territory from square miles to 11, square miles. In British minds, their colony could never be safe while sharing a border with thousands of lethal — and black — soldiers. Several chapters are devoted to setting the context for the war. There were many points of friction. British hopes for confederation of the various African states. The land dispute between the Zulus and the Transvaal Boers. Various incidents all relatively minor along the border between Zululand and Natal. None of the material has time to breathe.

Character traits are glossed over.

The literary rush to war makes the causes a bit confusing. This is not really a big deal, since the narrative quickly segues into the invasion of Zululand. The British plan, devised by Lieutenant General Lord Chelmsford, called for three originally five columns to march from Natal into Zulu territory. Shortly after putting this in motion, the Number 3 column, accompanied by Chelmsford himself, split in two. Half the column but not Chelmsford was overwhelmed by a massive Zulu army in the shadow of a mountain called Isandlwana. Over 1, men were killed, including some Europeans.

For obvious propaganda reasons, the British contrived to make this the defining aspect of the invasion. Eleven VCs were heaped upon the surviving defenders. The war unfolded in this pattern. Each side trading lopsided victories and defeats. The Number 1 column, after an early victory, was besieged at Eshowe.

Zulu - The True Story (Timewatch 2003)

A British supply column was destroyed along the Intombe River. The Number 4 column was defeated at a terrifying battle on rugged Hlobane Mountain. The very next day, those same British mowed down advancing Zulu warriors at Kambula. Each of these battles is worth in book in itself. The material is enough, with no adornment needed, as long as its delivered coherently.


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Frankly, my favorite part of Zulu is not its recounting of the battles, but in its revisionism. David brings a healthily skeptical view to a period that is shrouded in Victorian myth. With efficiency and incisiveness, he deconstructs the web of prevarications and outright lies spun by Isandlwana participants to protect their own careers. In doing so, David not only provides a more-truthful version of the battle itself, but also gives a nice little primer on the fascinating subject of historiography. History is not only written by the winners; it is written by the first-rate ass-coverers.

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Never deprecate the skill of shifting blame. For instance, David pokes holes in the story of Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill. Riding with him as protection was Coghill. Both men died on the Natal side of the river, fighting to the last. David reframes this melodramatic tale of men dying for a symbol. This battle is usually presented as a Thermopylae where the Spartans win.

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