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Author: Ian Knight

The Zulu kingdom, created by Shaka kaSenzangakhona, lasted just over six decades before meeting the imperial might of the British Empire. Within six months the kingdom lay in pieces. A full military campaign, known as the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 was required to ensure its demise. The British High Commissioner in South Africa, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, believed that the robust and economically self-reliant Zulu kingdom was a threat to this policy. In December 1878 he picked a quarrel with the Zulu king, Cetshwayo kaMpande, in the belief that the Zulu army - armed primarily with shields and spears - would soon collapse in the face of British Imperial might. The war began in January 1879. Three columns of British troops under the command of Lt. Gen. Lord Chelmsford invaded Zululand. Almost immediately, the war went badly wrong for the British. On 22 January, the Centre Column, under Lord Chelmsford's personal command, was defeated at Isandlwana mountain. In one of the worst disasters of the Colonial era, over 1300 British troops and their African allies were killed. In the aftermath of Isandlwana, the Zulu reserves mounted a raid on the British border post at Rorke's Drift, which was held by just 145 men. After ten hours of ferocious fighting, the Zulu were driven off. Eleven of the defenders of Rorke's Drift were awarded the Victoria Cross.These are the best-known episodes of the war, and Rorke's Drift inspired the classic film Zulu, which established Michael Caine as a star. However, the author delves deeply into the causes of the war, the conditions during it and the aftermath. Completely re-set, this is one of the most highly-regarded books on the period.

Author: Ian Knight

The Zulus were great warriors, and this book recalls 10 of the most notable ones, from King Shaka to Bambathia Zondi. Each account includes details of Zulu forces, weaponry, tactics and achievements.

Author Ian Knight is almost THE lone voice on the Zulu... few are the books he has not had at least a hand in. This book is unique, because, at last, we get something that looks beyond the Zulu kings (although there are chapters on Shaka and Cetshwayo) and examines some of the men who helped them build the Zulu kingdom.

This book is a great read because it imparts something of the personal lives of the great Zulu warriors, which has been totally ignored by most historians.

Author: Ian Knight

Forces of the independent Zulu kingdom inflicted a crushing defeat on British imperial forces at Isandlwana in January 1879. The Zulu army was not, however, a professional force, unlike its British counterpart, but was the mobilized manpower of the Zulu state. Knight details how the Zulu army functioned and ties its role firmly to the broader context of Zulu society and culture.

A good, more thorough, review on Amazon: The book covers the rise of Shaka and his military reforms during the 19th century, and describes how the army functioned and its broader role in Zulu culture. The book includes many excellent b/w photos, maps and diagrams showing tactics and maneuver. Detailed information is provided on Zulu recruitment and training, and life in the military amabutho, or regiments.

The interesting aspect provided by Knight is the telling of the British invasion through the Zulu perspective. I also like the information provided on all the various individual regiments. The book is a little light in describing the actual Zulu martial art.

In the back of the book is a short and not too comprehensive glossary of Zulu military terms, a list of Zulu regiments, a list of major campaigns, a list of senior Zulu commanders from 1818-79, and a good 4.5-page bibliography. If you are interested in Zulu, I highly recommend this book.

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