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DateOriginal Topic
17th May 2005Books
By Michael Kent
Apart from a copy priced at £76.55 via Amazon I cannot seem to get hold of Bertram Mitfords book. Has anyone seen this anywhere on this island at all for a reasonable sum?
17th May 2005Phil Pearce
Well all i can say is that on my Amazon search this guy produced a nil result nevermind a £76.55 price tag.
17th May 2005Phil Pearce
After a second search i have found 'Zululand its Battlefields & people' by this author for £30.22 on amazon is this what you are after?
17th May 2005Coll
I purchased my copy of Bertram Mitford's book ' Through the Zulu Country ' from one of the following (I can't remember which)

Steven J. Hopkins

Ken Trotman Ltd

There is no way I paid that much for it, more like £ 14.00.


PS. Ken Trotman Ltd is a company I use the most often.
17th May 2005Coll
Further to the above.

I bought my copy 3-4 years ago, so Phil's quote of £ 30.00 from Amazon, could be nearer the asking price nowadays.
17th May 2005Peter Ewart

There are several copies available via - always try them for all your book needs first. The Greenhill version (1992 facsimile reprint) is on offer at £22, as is another reprint from the 1970s at the same price. Then the prices go up - quite remarkably really as I hadn't realised that even the reprints were getting a bit scarce.

Obviously the original fetches a big price. With the Greenhill version, at least one chapter has, I think, been omitted and the pictures are different (modern). But plus a good intro from Ian Knight. Note that some of the photo captions have been mixed up, however.

Both the £22 items are on sale from overseas dealers - RSA & Canada. Well worth £22 - but move quickly or someone else will nab them first! (I usually email or phone the dealer and make arrangements direct).

Hope this helps.

17th May 2005Michael Boyle

When I got mine a few months ago they seemed everywhere. I took the lowest price of USD 25. Upon checking today they do seem to have become 'hen's teeth' ,the only copy on Amazon (US) is USD 145! however I have managed to find a few more:
50 Canadian dollars
77.23 Australian dollars
72 Australian dollars
USD 51.57
USD 92.50
USD 37.50 (From a cook book store?!?)

That's about it I'm afraid.


17th May 2005Michael Boyle
Sorry Michael and Phil, there seem to a fair amount of us "Sword Arm of God"ers about lately,must have been confused!
18th May 2005Phil Pearce
Got my info off the amazon site yesterday so I imagine this would be fairly up to date. Mind you if you fancy a really nice trip out why not visit Hay on Wye. You may not find this particular book in the miriad of dealers shops but you will be supprised at what you will find there.
18th May 2005Julian Whybra
Rather than buy it, if you just want to read it and make notes from it, there's a copy in Essex County Library available through library loan.
18th May 2005Phil Pearce
The british library systen allows you ( as long as you are a member) to request any book you wish at your local branch albeit sometimes a drawn out process
18th May 2005Mike McCabe
Sadly, Mitford did not really make the best of his opportunities in visiting sites and recording his talks with various eye witnesses. The result is an infuriating book bedevilled by his lack of penetration of subject matter and waffling linking narratives. Though Ian Knight manfully (and successfully) tries to place the book into a coherent context, there are disappointingly few 'nuggets' in Mitford's worthy but shallow account. It's sometimes a bit like a Titanic survivor not mentioning that the ship sank!

Hang on to your money, I suggest.

19th May 2005CLIVE DICKENS
I purchsed my copy from ABE books online it cost me only £8+p/p
19th May 2005Michael Kent

I have actualy read some of it when I was on the Holts tour (one of my companions had a copy) and I found it to still be remarkably accurate in detailing the walks down the Fugitives trail and Hlobane. Unfortunately I read the chapters concerned the night before I did each walk, so I knew what was coming, which with hindsight was not a good thing. Hlobane scared me greatly before the walk and is still giving me nightmares now!


23rd May 2005Peter Ewart
Mike (Mc)

Surely it depends on what one is looking for in Mitford's book. By the time he journeyed into Zululand, several books on the war had already appeared, so he was presumably after something different - although I agree he had an opportunity of including some accounts of the conflict as seen from the other side, which, of course, is what he did. But, being a traveller and a novelist, he was after human anecdotes, not military strategy.

He did include several accounts from men he met who provided their side of the story. By the look of it he wasn't interested in providing new military or strategic nuggets for his readers (and certainly not for researchers a century later) but you'll agree that several of the views from Zulus which he did include are still cited today.

I find this book anything but shallow and feel that it reflects accurately the title. His descriptions of the character of the Zulus he met are fascinating and are surely all the more authentic for being recognisable in many other accounts from colonists and missionaries of the time.

His descriptions of the topography are marvellous and these also can be compared with other contemporary descriptions from those who travelled and lived in Zululand in the middle and late 19th century. I find the physical description of the ruined and partially re-established Norwegian and Anglican missions helpful, as well as his meetings with the whites who were back in Zululand by 1882.

His description of Dabulamanzi as a cadging beggar and his acceptance of the view of many whites that he was a nasty bit of work is an example of his writing for his readership and I can understand the frustration of the modern reader who finds his refusal to elaborate on his conversation with Dabulamanzi about the war inexplicable, but if one accepts the book for what it is and was surely meant to be, then I think it is highly informative and very enjoyable, especially when compared with accounts of other travellers, traders, missionaries and administrators of the period. I suspect it was the sort of book the reader of the 1880s would have enjoyed very much - "waffling, linking narrative" and all! Travelling through Zululand was still a major practical accomplishment in 1882 (and for some years to come) and I would expect a good deal of his narrative to cover this.

A case of "One man's meat", I suppose.

30th May 2005Mike McCabe
I still hold to my disappointment at the lack of penetration of detail in Mitford's book - seemingly designed to help recover the costs of his expedition and, I suppose, as much subject to the influences of book editors as anything written today.
To have travelled as he did, have the opportunities indicated, and yet observe and record so very little is mind boggling.
I do not think it should become a piece of hallowed Africana, it's a very lightweight book by any standards.