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Voices From the Zulu War (Paperback)

Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Boer-Zulu War Military > Pre-WWI > Anglo-Zulu Wars P&S History > British History > Victorian History

By Ian Knight
Frontline Books
Pages: 280
ISBN: 9781848325906
Published: 21st March 2011



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The 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 mobilised manpower of the Zulu state. In this ground-breaking study, Ian Knight details just how the Zulu army functioned and ties its role firmly to the broader context of Zulu society and culture.

After surveying the Zulu army from its creation during the wars of Shaka in the early nineteenth century, and the subsequent development of Zulu fighting methods, Ian Knight focuses in detail on the structure and condition of the Zulu army on the eve of the war in 1879. This indispensable book describes such key topics as enlistment, organisation, training and equipment. He also considers Zulu war aims and strategy, their view of artillery and cavalry, and how they were perceived by their colonial neighbours. Most of all, he reveals how the Zulu army functioned in wartime, from preparatory rituals to battlefield tactics, and the shock of battle itself.

This collection is an invaluable source for the experiences of British troops fighting in the Zulu War and a useful supplement to recent narrative histories of the conflict. It should be read by anyone with an interest in nineteenth century warfare or the history of the British soldier at war.

Military Times - Dec 2011

In this ground-breaking study, Ian Knight details just how the Zulu army functioned and ties its role firmly to the broader context of Zulu society and culture.
Mr knight has carefully selected a variety of important and interesting accounts of the Zulu War as described by the officers and men who fought in it. Their testimony is vital to our subsequent understanding of this conflict over 130 years later. This is a vitally important study for anyone interested in this iconic Victorian colonial war.


Renowned expert on Zulu military and author of a number of books on the Anglo-Zulu war, Ian Knight has put together a collaboration of the most important and insightful reminisces of the bloody war of 1879 in one volume. The brutal and destructive nature of the war led to the deaths of over 7,000 Zulu warriors , their king being deposed , their government overturned and their homes and crops laid to waste which , in effect ,puts in to question the morality of our British soldiers. These generals who were educated members of Victorian society were not considered brutal men , but believed that the preservation of the British Empire was of the upmost importance and by expanding territorially they were spreading the just cause of Christian enlightenment. Knight provides an entertaining and insightful read for the general reader and an essential text for anyone studying the war by linking and evaluating each of the accounts and providing a brief outline of each soldiers career and role in the war. This interesting book provides many useful accounts of the war and offers an intriguing insight into one of the most famous campaigns in British colonial history.

Jayne (customer review)

About Ian Knight

Ian Knight is internationally recognised as a leading authority on the Anglo-Zulu War. He has contributed to numerous TV documentaries on the subject, including the BBC’s Timewatch and Channel 4’s Secrets of the Dead. In 2000, he was the historian attached to the archaeological dig at the Isandlwana battlefield. He has written and co-written numerous books on the subject, including The Anatomy of the Zulu ArmyBrave Men's BloodThe National Army Museum Book of the Zulu War, Zulu Rising and Who's Who in the Zulu War. He is a recipient of the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society’s Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Award for a lifetime’s achievement in the field.

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