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DateOriginal Topic
19th January 2005New ? book
By Paul Mercer
Has anyone read a book that was reviewed in the 'Mail on Sunday' on Nov 14th? It's called 'Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879', by Saul David and published by Viking books.
Is it any good and does it tell us anything we do not already know?
19th January 2005Peter Ewart

Yes, it has been discussed on this forum at some length. You'll find the most recent postings contained in the very recent thread under the heading of "Myths." An earlier thread went into further details but was, I believe, unfortunately lost in the recent server crash.

Besides the press in the UK and in South Africa, it has also been reviewed in the most recent issue of the AZWHS Journal. You'll see that the reviews which have been published by those who are univerally respected in the field of AZW research, or the comments offered by those contributors to this forum who clearly "know their onions", have not quite (shall we say) greeted the book with uncritical acclaim. Indeed, it would be extremely charitable to describe the reviews from these more knowledgeable sources as "mixed." The two questions posed by your second paragraph are both answered unequivocally.

You'll find some rather different reviews in some of the the press and in the publisher's own publicity. One is led to wonder what else on this topic these reviewers have ever read. In my opinion, the most enlightened offering - and it comes from a well-informed impartial source - is that of Stephen Coan in the Natal Witness (20th Dec I believe) and this has been echoed elsewhere on the forum.

19th January 2005Paul Mercer
Many thanks for your reply, I won't be adding it to my 'must read' books!
19th January 2005Paul Cubbin
I for one was amazed at the asonishing revelation revealed in Dr Saul David's book, 'The last to perish were a group of sixty foot soldiers..' !! Dear God, what did the Zulus use to take them down with? Did they wait for them to climb the peak of Isandlwana then attack them with biplanes?
20th January 2005Tony Jones
In the junk mail i received the other day the said book is now available as an 'introductory offer' from a mail-order book company for the knock-down price of £3.This offer so soon after the books release seems to demote the book not into the 'here today gone tommorow category',but 'here today gone later today' section.Perhaps the final resting place of this book is a reflection of the number of errors contained in it!
20th February 2005Dave Collard
i must say that having read and analysed this book as part of my dissertation preparation module at university i must agree with this forum in some ways and defend the book in others. i do agree that the book contains a startling number of errors for so prominent an authority on the war and i am truly amazed that dr david rushed (his own words) this book so much that they appear and that anyone proof reading it failed to spot them. as regards other author's indignation that he lifted large quantities of their work and used it without respect for their or their publisher's rights, i don't know - i guess thats their issue, not mine. however, i think that this book is eminently readable and is ideal for anyone beginning to take an interest in the topic - AS LONG AS THEY KNOW ABOUT THE ERRORS. i entirely agre with ian knight's comment that 'while Saul David is at home in the dusty corridors of Imperial power, he is ill at ease in the rolling green hills of Zululand.' i think that if one needs this book - as i do - to research more the effects of the war in a wider context and the behind - the - scenes issues in britain it is invaluable. by the way - does anyone know of any books that deal with this side of events? it could prove essential for me to read! please email me if you do.