Zulu Rising, a major new study by Ian Knight of the battles of iSandlwana and Rorke’s Drift in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, tells the story of how a part-time army of African herdsmen brought to a halt – temporarily at least – more than half a century of British Imperial progress across southern Africa. The battle of iSandlwana was the bloodiest defeat inflicted upon the British Army during the Victorian era, and it sent shock-waves around the world and catapulted the Zulu people into a media spotlight from which they have yet to escape. That same day a small garrison of British troops at the border post of Rorke’s Drift held off an attack by overwhelming Zulu numbers for nearly ten hours earning no less than eleven Victoria Crosses (this incident was the inspiration for the Michael Caine film Zulu). Yet beneath the stereotypes of noble warriors and heroic redcoats the battles in fact reflected a brutal clash of cultures, a destructive collision of two warrior peoples that shaped the course of South African history into recent times. Closely researched, Zulu Rising follows the lives of individuals on both sides and weaves them together into a visceral description of the fighting – and its aftermath.
TV presenter Neil Oliver said of the book ‘I loved it...full of fresh ideas and new wisdom. Instead of blood some writers have a story running through their veins – Ian Knight is one of those writers and iSandlwana is his story.’
Ian Knight has studied the Anglo-Zulu War for more than thirty years, researching both in archives and on the field, walking the battlefields and collecting oral traditions from Zulus whose forebears took part. He is the author of a number of specialist books on the subject including Brave Men’s Blood and the award-winning The National Army Museum Book of the Zulu War (which shared the Royal United Services’ Institute’s prize for Best Military History in 2003. He has appeared in and advised on a number of television documentaries including Channel 4’s Secrets of the...
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