In the Shadow of Isandlwana (ePub)
The Life and Times of General Lord Chelmsford and his Disaster in Zululand
“Lord Chelmsford is not a bad man. He is industrious and conscientious so far as his lights guide him. But nature has refused to him the qualities of a great captain. He has suffered much and is entitled to certain commiseration.” – Thomas Gibson Bowles, Vanity Fair
General Lord Chelmsford’s military career took him around the world; he served in the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny and the Abyssinian Expedition, before commanding the British invasion of the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa.
In January 1879, disaster struck when Chelmsford divided his forces at Isandlwana in the face of the enemy and the Zulu overwhelmed his camp, killing more than 1,300 of its defenders. Such a defeat was almost unprecedented in a Victorian colonial campaign. Despite Chelmsford's later victories at Gingindlovu and Ulundi, he was humiliatingly relieved of his command. His responsibility for Isandlwana dogged him for the rest of his days, and he would forever be associated with this historic defeat.
In this comprehensive new biography, Anglo-Zulu War specialist John Laband, explores the personal character and military career of Lord Chelmsford, providing a well-rounded, well-balanced and well-informed picture of this complex military figure.
“This is a remarkable biography reflecting many years of painstaking and detailed worldwide research by Professor John Laband…. This biography is complex and thorough but remarkably easy reading. It fascinatingly flows through detail and describes wars and battles in an enthralling style; it is a comprehensive undertaking but east to read. I found it hard to put down.”Adrian Greaves, Victorian Military Society Journal
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Ron Baumer
A tragic story of an individual who through bad luck/errors led to at the time of the event one of the worst losses of British troops. He overcame this tragedy to go on and succeed in his campaign against the Zulu tribes in Africa. The story is well told and points out some of the biggest issues with the British forces - achieving rank via a monetary payment rather than merit. The author leaves it up to the reader to determine if the harsh criticism he was forced to endure the remainder of his life was warranted or not. I found this book to be an excellent read, informative and worthwhile.
This book looks beyond the ill-fated events of Isandlwana to truly explore the depths of who Lord Chelmsford actually was. History has often overlooked his successful career in favor of highlighting the massive blunder that would forever be associated with him. I always enjoy books that attempt to explore the whole picture of a person, place, or event.NetGalley, Spencer Wright