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|26th July 2005||Book Reviews|
By Elizabeth Hogan
To the RD site critics
Should I find it strange that the RDVC web site critics, who join forces to attack authors writing about the Zulu war, usually include the same 'names'? These self-appointed critics approval of Mr Zamoyskis' comments about 'Crossing the Buffalo' presumably extends to a joint belief with Mr Zamoyski in his introduction that the regiment at Isandlwana was the 'South Welsh Borderers'? Perhaps it is just as well that we don't ever see their names on the list of authors writing about the subject.
I have often wondered why we never see any of the published authors appearing on the RD web site- these 'site critics' have shown me why. I would dearly like to see the occasional response on the site from people like Prof. John Laband, David Rattray, Saul David, Ian Knight, Adrian Greaves, Lee Stevenson, Alan Baynam-Jones, Brian Best and Prof Paul Thompson - to name some current authors, now I can see why they don't - which is our collective loss.
For the rest of us - we avidly buy their books and make up our own minds - perhaps this is why, when I enquired of Cassells when they might remainder Greaves' book, their response was an amused 'not yet' as their first run of 3,000 had sold out and is being reprinted. They added that 2,000 have already been sold in South Africa. Which brings us to commercialism, so deplored by the site's critics, what do these brave souls do for a living and I wonder how successful they are when 'off site' from RDVC?
If any of the site critics have written any books that they would like reviewed please post on this site and a review will be carried out - not by Mr Z. Please reply through this site and not to my email address.
I will also be contacting authors on the Anglo Zulu Wars to ascertain how much they contribute back to Rorkes Drift and surrounding areas from their royalties or other fund raising activities.
In fact this is such a huge topic I am considering setting up a website to deal with these topics.
|26th July 2005||Peter Weedon|
You might want to look at the post beginning on 4th April 2004, started by Adrian Greaves, which refers to the work done by the AZWHS in South Africa. It may save you some letter writing.
|26th July 2005||Michael Boyle|
To be fair, there are quite a few authors who contribute here, one having recently remanded himself until the publication of his forthcoming book.Some of the 'names' who offer critiques here are themselves authors who are esteemed less for their literary style than for the depth of their research which is, perhaps, the primary point of interest to those of us who visit this site. You will find no 'South Welsh Borderers' here.
This site has evolved into a forum to dispell many of the myths and legends that have grown round the AZW for more than a century and has provided great insight to those enthusiasts among us who yearn to better understand the triumphs and tragedies connected with this relatively obscure colonial war as well as to derive a deeper understanding of those involved in it.
When authors publish works that continue to reinforce the mistakes and misperceptions of prior works in spite of recent scholarship easily available by more thorough research, it is incumbant upon those who recognize those mistakes to point them out.
I have found that book critiques here deal less with their author's literary aspirations (beyond comments such as 'good read') than with the details of mistaken names, ranks, dispositions and discredited 'facts'. This is not to say that new interpretations of established research or insight based on re-interpretations of primary sources are dismissed out of hand. These are discussed here with great enthusiasm. All we ask is that authors spend the time to avoid repeating the mistakes of past works.
We also try (with varying degrees of success!) to avoid casting personal aspersions on the characters of those we do not know.
|26th July 2005||Edward Bear|
Shrill stuff indeed. You surely cannot seriously contend that new books should only be met with silence, or various degrees of approval. Nor, I hope, that only authorship qualifies people to comment on authors. It would be tantamount to saying that one should not go to a football match, without having played to at least the same standard.
Nor, surely, could you argue that some of the many examples of poorly argued contention that commonly enter recent Zulu War books pass for objective and rational scholarship.
If Casells are not expecting remaindering soon I'm content to be patient. Even Zulu War authors of impressive distinction (Laband, Ian Knight} have been remaindered by the UK book trade at various stages in the last 15-20 years. Authors, mostly, deserve to earn their crust - but more of a quality line please. More Bollinger, less Bubblegum!
|26th July 2005||Mike McCabe|
Edward clearly thinks it's time for a charm offensive!
That some of the Zulu War authors (and other operator/proprietors) are active to varying degrees in ploughing back part of their earned rewards into the local RD-Isandlwana area in cash or kind - is well enough known, to the extent it needs to be.
As it happens, many authors either directly - or through associates, or influence - already have good effects in these matters.
If some don't, then that, too, is their private affair and - for one - I would think no less (or more) of them if they didn't.
|27th July 2005||Keith Smith|
Dear Ms Hogan
I found your remarks quite provocative and would put forward three points and a couple of questions for you to consider.
1. A number of the writers whom you mentioned do indeed contribute to this site. Adrian Greaves has demonstrated on a number of occasions that he is willing to vigouously defend his work. I also know that a number of the contributors have written books and/or journal articles. Have you?
2. It is unusual to find academics contributiong perhaps because their work is their livilihood, although that has not prevented at least two of them known to me and everyone here from doing so. The site and its readers have benefitted greatly from the matters they have discussed.
3. While you might have found the criticism of a book on this site very robust, it is no less than is meted out to those who deal out the criticism or respond to matters raised here. One might, with a little investigation of the vast amount of discussion history here, even discover some acrimony among the responses, but in general everyone makes a contribution in the search for a better understanding of this grubby war. Almost without exception, however, they honour the courage displayed by both sides in the conflict but eagerly exploit any weakness in arguments put forward.
My questions are these: Why do you choose to make such bold statements without having first examined this site in any depth? Is there a hidden agenda? Are you speaking on your own behalf, or on that of another party?
|27th July 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
OK, a number of fair comments so far, for which I thank all the writers. In the case of Mr Zamoyski, he is a noted author and critic but I still wonder how many books the recent contributors to this site have written? Answers please gentlemen?
I am already following up some of your suggestions and I believe that there is scope for an unbiased review site for the Anglo Zulu War - not one just devoted to the battle of Rorke's Drift.
Has Mr McCabe written anything on Rorke's Drift as I noticed he recently referred an enquirer to AMAFA re excavations at RD? Why didn't he mention the official excavations carried out at RD by Dr Webley, a noted South African archaeologist? Her work was published in Greaves' Rorke's Drift a couple of years ago (and in the Journals of the AZWHS) - so I wonder how much these 'site buffs' really know.
I now extend my original question posted yesterday to ask the 'site buffs' ... How many of you have visited the battlefields specifying which ones.
Finally, I have no problem at all with criticism - but we should be able to know what experience lies behind those whose names we have become familiar with on this site over recent years.
I have not written any books however I have been to the battlefields and read much of what has been written in recent years.
I hope to have my 'Review Site' up and running shortly.
Meanwhile I await your replies which I will be pleased to add to your awaited published book lists that will be on the 'Site'
|27th July 2005||Paul Bryant-Quinn|
Dear Ms Hogan,
May I suggest that you devote some time to reading through the 102 pages of postings on this site? You will find there a wealth of scholarly and informed comment on many topics relating both to the AZW and its wider context; indeed, had you done so you would already be aware that rdvc.com is far from being `just devoted to the battle of Rorke's Drift'.
You wonder `how much these 'site buffs' (an intentionally disparaging phrase?) really know'. The short answer is that many of the contributors to this site are extremely knowledgeable, and have devoted years to their research; others, like myself, have no particular expertise but benefit greatly from the information made available through this forum, as well as by the unfailingly generous help received in personal communications. On this site, you will find that courtesy goes a long way.
You `have often wondered why we never see any of the published authors appearing on the RD web site'. With respect, we do. That you appear not to know who some of these are may in itself be significant, given your claim to have read much of what has been written in recent years. And yet despite this familiarity with the sources, you seem curiously anxious to obtain a list of contributors' publications. Could this in any way be connected with the content of your proposed website - the `unbiased' one?
I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the comments made by Keith Smith, and look forward to your response to the questions he put at the end of his posting.
|27th July 2005||Mike McCabe|
Dear Mrs/Miss/Ms Hogan,
I first visited Rorke's Drift in 1956, when it was still possible to meet very old Zulus who had witnessed the Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift battles from afar. Though I left the RSA in 1961, I have returned as often as I can for visits and have frequently visited this part of KZN, most recently in January/February 2004. I have also attended the official commemorations of the 100th and 125 anniversaries, and am acquainted to some extent with most of the UK contributors to this interesting study, and some of the South African ones. Though I pretend no special expertise of the rigorous sort that might concevably meet your own apparantly exacting standards, I nevertheless think of myself as reasonably well informed on these sites and very familiar with the many changes and developments at them over getting on for the last 50 years. It is not immediately apparent to me that you are in the same fortunate position.
It was entirely proper to refer the recent enquirer to Barry Marshall, as the Amafa Director. Whilst the fusion between the former Natal Provincial Museums Service and the Kwa Zulu Heritage body into Amafa Heritage KZN is a matter of fact, and proceeds t develop and strengthen, Amafa are the heritage 'owners' of the RD Museum and Visitors Centre, and the responsible body for fielding this query - especially as they would authorise any future plans to conduct archaeology at RD and would be aware if any were under consideration.
If, as may be the case, you stridently believe that only published AZW authors might be allowed opinions on this site, then it might as well shut down. Very fortunately, an enormous range of readers and contributors involve themselves on the site from tme to time - for its enrichment, and our collective edification. As a certainty, any errors made by contributors will usually be helpfully and pleasantly put right sooner or later. I'm personally aware of several accomplished writers and researchers who contribute to the site, not a few under pseodonyms.
So, Elizabeth, more breadth of vision might - I would suggest - help you in forming a view of how this site works, how we all benefit from it, and how we all try to contribute to it. We do not need another Cerberus, already having JY, Julian, Martine, and the webmasters, and many others (including the occasional 'EB'!), keeping a gentle eye upon us all.
|27th July 2005||Mike McCabe|
Sorry, 'Martin', meaning Martin Everett.
I'm amusingly aware also of the recent Stephen Sass and 'EB' remarks (qv) on pomposity! But, it is fun - occasionally.
|27th July 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
Thanks for your comments and yes the more I delve the more I am convinced that the website I envisage will happen shortly.
Hi Mike. Great that is exactly the information I am looking for - now everybody else how about you?
I see you refer to EB - who is this (do not come back and say Edward Bear).
|27th July 2005||Mike McCabe|
So, Elizabeth, might we now learn which of the various commercial interest groups you represent - the AZWHS perhaps?
Are we all to have credentials of some sort?
I have others.
And, 'EB' is indeed Edward Bear - unless you would prefer him not to be. See other entries elsewhere.
|27th July 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
I am not a member of any organisation - but this as a topixc to get involved with does interest me and I may create an alternative
|27th July 2005||Mike McCabe|
You can see from the structure of this website simply one of the ways of doing it.
And, the very broad range of interests, levels of knowledge, and ranges of views.
Look also at the rrw.org.uk website for other ideas, especially on merchandising. And, the AZWHS website, for its activities. Oh, and the Keynsham Light Horse for its particular specialisation. A truly successful website would be an aggregation of all, plus other features, though I suspect might not be a lot different to this in the end. Simply because the 'users' would not be very different. In an exchange with 'an author' by message during the day, I was provided with interesting and very supportable reasons why authors would be unlikely to maintain continuos direct involvement in this site - or one similar.
A site competing directly with this one would attract only a part of its loyal following.
Best left alone, I suggest, unless money is no object.
|28th July 2005||John Silversmith|
As you see, with the exception of the detailed response from Mike above, I don't think you'll get the answers you are seeking. As Mike says...'best left alone'. You can feel the strength of the replies above so I also suggest you heed Mike's advice, on this site anyway, before it gets rough.
Could I suggest that the best course of action for you is to go ahead with your website anyway - then people can visit your site, or not, as the case may be.
There is already a reasonable 'books page' on the AZWHS site but it lacks in-depth reviews. Your proposed review site would, I expect, attract considerable interest. Do, however, please try and get professional reviewers, especially people who know the locations in S Africa. It would be good to see some strong, knowledgable and impartial reviews of the growing number of Zulu War books now on the market.
Go for it !
|28th July 2005||AMB|
Over the past number of years there have been numerous of books published relating to the Zulu War. Some are good, some are middle-roaders and some are bad. Most are mentioned/discussed/appraised in some way on this excellent site. The ladies and gentlemen who contribute are knowledgable and, generally un-biased. It is this on-going discussion that makes this site so fun! It also serves to remind us that those soldiers and warriors who fought in 1879 are not forgotten.
|29th July 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
It is quite obvious that I am not going to get the info I require other than Mike's.
I have considered all of the comments and taken note and added them to the other notes I had already obtained.
I will now be going ahead and setting up the website as I already have a number of reviews to enter - others will the follow that will keep the website up to date on all new books issued.
My intention is to encourage the writing of high standard material by professional reviewing of books by suitably qualified people.
|29th July 2005||Martin Everett|
There are some problems/challenges
1. Amazon already allow individual reviews
2. Quite often - and Saul David's book was a good example - the publishers produce a benign reviewer to promote book sales.
3. Qualitied professional reviewers (sound knowledge of the subject) often have an personal interest - particularly if they have produced books on the same period/campaign/subject - their views can be very slanted.
4. Commericialism often means that authors often skip basic research just to get their publication on the streets as soon as possible. In my experience there are very few people who can do research well - it is often too time consuming.
And everyone promotes their book by saying that they have something new to reveal about AZW - when quite often they haven't.
I leave you with those thoughts.
|29th July 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
Very many thanks for those words - they are all taken on board.
|29th July 2005||Mike McCabe|
Presumably reviews that say nice things about authors so that book sales are promoted - perhaps as merchandise on the same site?
No Zamoyskis, in other words.
Are authors to review each other's books, or, is the AZWHS to sell special courses in how to review AZW books? How are these books to be 'professionally reviewed'? How will you identify the ability to review professionally. A killed and competent general, historical book critic might easily trash some of the more recent books - by out Zamoyski'ing Zamoyski.
And, are there to be retrospective reviews of the old potboilers - like TWOTS.
Perhaps there will be no room fordiscussion or alternative criticism in the well ordered world of this new site.
Haddock, I suspect, will cost the same.
|30th July 2005||Steve Moore|
Hi, I,ve just read a book. It had a green cover and a tea stain on page 71. It was jolly interesting. Is this OK?
|30th July 2005||Julian Whybra|
I must apologize for not having replied sooner on the forum. This was not hubris – I’ve had to play nursemaid to my wife whilst she recuperated from an operation. There have been occasions when I have queried others’ academic qualifications and thus their academic competence to make pronouncements on the subject of the Zulu War. It's onlty right to respond when a similar request is made of me. I have nothing to hide and am pleased to contribute to the rdvc website (and to take flak from it too). I would hope others will respond in a similar manner though you should note that this website was not intended as a means for self-promotion. I will happily tell you (and others) what I do for a living and give my qualifications but only if you request this of me by e-mail personally. I have below only included articles and works published on the Zulu War (note that the first is a pedagogic work not intended as a work of research written for the serious historian) and I think I’ve omitted one or two in the 90s. Neither does the list include lectures given.
1984 March Published work : 'The Battle of Isandhlwana 1879' (project workbook and teachers' notes for use with gifted children, published by Essex County Council).
1987 9th February Paper 'South African Confederation and the Origins of the Zulu War' produced for Institute for Historical Research/University of London (internal publication).
1988 June Article 'Contemporary Sources and the Composition of the Main Zulu Impi, January 1879' published in Victorian Military Society's Journal June Issue 53 (winner of the 1988 Browne Medal for Original Historical Research, February 1989).
1988 September Article 'The Ten Gunners : Royal Artillery Survivors from Isandhlwana' published in Victorian Military Society's Journal September Issue 54.
1990 January Articles 'No 1 Squadron Imperial Mounted Infantry May 1877 - January 1879' published in Victorian Military Society's Journal January Issue 58/59.
1990 January Article 'The Ten Gunners - Addenda' published in Victorian Military Society's Journal January Issue 58/59.
1990 March Article 'Isandhlwana and the Durnford Papers' published in Victorian Military Society's Journal March Issue 60 (co-authored with F. W. David Jackson).
1990 June Article 'Zabange - Pure Fiction' published in Victorian Military Society's Journal June Issue 61.
1990 September Published work 'The Roll Call' published by Roberts Medals Publications.
1990 November Published work 'The Defence of Rorke's Drift' published by British Archives.
1990 November Bibliography on Rorke's Drift for Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham (updated version is still in use).
2002 March Article 'More Noble 24th: an addendum to Norman Holme’s monumental work' published in Victorian Military Society's Journal March Issue 108.
2003 June Article 'The Cochrane Accounts of Isandhlwana’ published in the Journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society, June, 13th Edition.
2004 January Published work 'England’s Sons' published by GIFT Ltd., (currently in its 5th Edition).
On the point of publication:
2003 June Article 'The Military Connections of Brevet Colonel Anthony William Durnford, R.E.’ to be published in the Journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society.
2005 Article 'Reading between the Lines: An Analysis of the alleged ‘Pulleine-Cavaye Order’ of 22.1.1879’ to be published in the Journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
2005 Article ' “An Englishman in Outlandish Places…”: Lieut. N. Newnham-Davis 2/3rd, I.M.I. and Anthony Trollope in South Africa, 1879’ to be published in the Journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
Four other articles and one book.
|30th July 2005||Julian Whybra|
Whoops! Third from last should read 2005 June not 2003!
|30th July 2005||Melvin Hunt|
I've got that book also. Must disagree though mate, I couldn't find a tea stain and I thought that it was boring. We obviously need a decision from an unbiased professional reviewer.
|31st July 2005||Edward Bear|
Mercifully, the tea stain would at least be more accurate, authentic and interesting than some (do I mean most) Zulu War published in the last two years.
But, a 'proper' reviewer would be able to tell you what kind of tea it was!
|31st July 2005||Edward Bear|
AG Tips, perhaps?
|31st July 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
Well Well - I seem to have unwittingly stumbled upon a raw nerve with my initial posting, with 24 replies to date, and all I requested was details of the experience of the RD site critics - and apart from Mike McCabe and a reasoned response from Julian Whybra, I am not much further forward. I can only assume that the others have not written much let alone visited the battlefields.
As it is a free country, I will be setting up my site, no doubt irritating certain people into the bargain. All I intend to do is publish accredited reviews of recent and popular Zulu War books, reviews which most readers probably don't have access to.
To widen the spectrum, I merely invited the RD site to tell me of their credentials - and we all know the response.
So the RD critics can continue to have their erudite (in their eyes) say on the RD site.
I will invite Zulu authors and researchers, including Julian and Mike, to join in with my reviews.
I also have some knowledgeable ladies prepared to have their say.
Incidentally, has anyone written a book about ladies in the Zulu War? Yo cannot tell me we where not involved!!
Watch this space.
|31st July 2005||Michael Boyle|
Perhaps I'm only speaking for myself but what interests me in AZW books is the content, not the style. If a book is published with factual errors I want to be aware of them. At this point I'm able to pick out some myself, however I rely on those with vastly superior knowledge of the subject to point out the rest in order to help me advance my understanding of the conflict. One need not be an accredited literary critic (whatever that may be) in order to comment on mistakes in research, one need only have devoted a good deal of time and energy towards a better understanding of the primary sources. This would seem particularly important here as some authors seem to rely on older secondary sources thus perpetrating discredited conclusions.
This is not to say that the primary sources are inviolate or indeed that they present a cohesive whole. Far from it. The relative paucity and sometimes conflicting nature of some primary materials are what enable authors to continue publishing works on this topic based on individual insights and interpretaions that often prove compelling. Unfortunately some authors do tend to get a little sloppy with the 'facts' they choose to employ, certainly not maliciously (as some critiques do tend to appear) but only in support of their own conclusions or agendas.
Agenda is not a bad word, it reflects an individual position that an author wishes to put forward for consideration and, hopefully, acceptance. A depth of feeling perhaps, and without a depth of feeling for a subject it may be best for an author to consider another topic (not just in historical literature but in any literary venue.)
Praise may be nice, but it is criticism that advances knowledge. One need not possess a string of letters after one's name in order to provide a good critical assessment. That said I would agree that many critics (in all endeavours) would be well advised to heed "...a little less of your spleen..."!
(I've been interested in learning more of the women and children 'carried on the stregnth' as it would seem a fertile ground for investigation but thus far have only found a few anecdotes contained in "On The Stregnth, The Story of the British Army Wife" by Veronica Bamfield and deducing some information from "The Noble 24th". There is also of course Francis Colenso. Some contemporary newspaper accounts mention the hospital nurses and women involved in fund-raisers. Beyond that there seems to have been little involement compared to the Indian Mutiny, at least as far as I yet know.)
|1st August 2005||John Young|
When I get more of a chance to list the text that I have written, I will do so, however at present I have far more pressing demands on my time and energy - playing my (small) role the investigation of the events of both the 7th & 21st of July. Which accounts for my absence from the site, and now at 04:50hrs back to the fray which I left at 23:30hrs last night.
|1st August 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
I picked up a book on my recent travels in South Africa called "Zulus at Bay" a Colonial Chronicle by Denis Barker.
Would you like to do a review on this book for me especially as you have the appropriate knowledge for the assignment. If you will post on here your address I will send the book to you. Julian - when I get my hands on the next book - will you be prepared to review it.
|1st August 2005||Andy Lee|
A good test for Julian would be 'Zulu' by Saul David!
All the best
|1st August 2005||Paul Bryant-Quinn|
You mention that you `will invite Zulu authors and researchers ... to join in with my reviews'. Which Zulu authors and researchers do you have in mind?
|1st August 2005||Elizabeth Hogan|
I had no idea how much interest my original enquiry would create - needless to say I am working hard towards setting up a website for reviewing books on the market and released on the market as they arise.
I am looking accross my bookshelf and there are four books that I cannot recollect a review being done so Paul would you like to do one on "Rorkes Drift 1879" by Edmund Yorke.
Julian - would you like to do "The Rorke's Drift Doctor" by Lee Stevenson.
The other two are "Rorkes Drift" by James W Bancroft and "They Fell Like Stones" by John Young. Would anybody with the suitable attributes (males or female) like to volunteer for the last two.
If you post your names and addresses on this site I will send a copy of the books to you - that is if you do not already have one.
|1st August 2005||Paul Bryant-Quinn|
Not having the `suitable attributes', I fear I must decline your invitation.
|1st August 2005||Melvin Hunt|
Could you please explain exactly what "suitable attributes" and "credentials" you feel we should possess?
|2nd August 2005||Andy Lee|
If you were to compile a top five authority list on the Zulu Wars both Lee Stevenson and John Young would be there so you will struggle to find many people with the right credentials to review there work.
|2nd August 2005||John Silversmith|
Good point - but surely all that is being asked for is someone to review these books? Lee and John's books are great - but why not have someone from the RD site who regularly comments on other authors' work also comment on these two fine books? Reviews can be good as well as bad - and we should be seen to be fair to all. I have read John's book many times but I was always mystified by the intro comment that, like that other fine author Donald Morris, he had never been to Zululand - two remarkable books under the circumstances?
It seems to me from all the interest that this is provoking that Elizabeth Hogan will have a winner with her site, so why don't we volunteer our services?
|2nd August 2005||Keith Smith|
Dear Ms Hogan
This is beginning to look like a setup, whereby you annoy the 'locals' so as to con them into reviewing books for your new site. What a scam! I note with sorrow that Dr Bryant-Quinn, one of our better known academics, declines on the grounds of not having the 'suitable attributes'. I wonder whether Julian, yet another academic, will fall for your your ploy. I hardly think so. Having had a number of papers published, and with my first book to be available shortly, I wonder whether I might have them? In any case, I decline too, on the pretext that I couldn't be bothered.
I think you will find that the books you mention, while not perhaps having had a formal review on this site, have been discussed at length on this forum. Use the Search facility on the Home page to see for yourself.
|2nd August 2005||Andy Lee|
If I was in the Premiership along with all the talent listed on this thread I would be asking about the book review rate, you maybe throwing away a good contract here.
Please if allowed could you email with your book details and release date - Thanks.
|2nd August 2005||Melvin Hunt|
Could you tell us more about your new book please?
|3rd August 2005||Keith Smith|
Thanks for asking. Correspondents here may have noticed that I have occasionally added to a thread with information from one of the many Local General Orders of the war. These have been drawn from my collection of pretty well every GO that I could find, over a six year period during many visits to KZN and the UK. The book is called, oddly enough, "General Orders of the Anglo-Zulu War 1879" and contains the text of every GO in my collection. Contact D P & G for publication details.
|3rd August 2005||Sean Sweeney|
and Hi to Mr Zamoyski and his sidekick.
(Is She for real ?)
Coincidentally, I'm currently reading '1812' - Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow. Adam Zamoyski. Published by HarperCollins 2004.
(It was a Xmas present from a doting son !)
It's 644 pages,
and seems to be well researched,
with 38 pages of Notes,
and 24 pages of 'Sources",
plus Illustrations and Maps.
Positively reviewed at;
Mr Zamoyski doesn't appear to have re-written history.
Unfortunately, for all the francophiles out there, Napoleon still lost,
and the destruction of the 'Grande Armee' certainly contributed towards Wellington's (and Blucher's) eventual victory in 1815.
So, many thanks to all our Russian friends who might access this site by accident,
and all those Prussians that didn't support Napoleon in 1812, or Hitler in 1939,
and thanks for all the help at Waterloo.
Could you imagine the significance to our history if the outcomes had been different ?
There might even have been no AZW ! God Forgive !
I'm not an expert reviewer or self appointed critic, so can't comment further than that I am now more aware of the significance of the title of Tchaikovskys best known overture.
Mr Zamoyski has a number of other Titles credited to him, mostly of Polish historical content, including 'The Forgotten Few', which some of you Military Historians might have read, and which was well received.
Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could inform me if (my) money has been well spent.
I think so, which is probably all that counts to an armchair historian !
Oh, and 'Anoraks' and 'Fat-Bellies' forever !
|3rd August 2005||AMB|
I have written nothing about the Zulu War, although I once gave a lecture about RD to a gathering of British military officers and British and foriegn diplomatic staff at Camp Souter in Kabul.
However, I have visited Zululand on many occasions.
I do plan to retire & write books about Zulus - but as I've got over twenty years to push to attain the grand age of 55, I think the other [current] authors have little to fear from my entering the fray!
|5th August 2005||Michael Boyle|
Ironically, I had been contemplating a suggestion that this site's book review section could be updated with an eye toward the accuracy, derivativeness (?) or originality of the vast bibliography available on the AZW. (Not to mention the broken links!) Of course I hesitated, knowing the incredible amount of work that would entail. ("No bother, not offering to [do] it myself old boy"!)
Perhaps that idea may now be moot. However given the tone of this thread, and the demand placed by Elizabeth on those who comment on books here to be informed of their qualifications (not that it matters in my case as I'm only a nuclear health physics engineer with no allusions toward literary or academic proficiency) would it be wrong to ask her to provide us with her "cred"?
(On top of the many other obstacles intrinsic with a visit to the battlefields I'm distressed to learn that I must now shed ten kilos and forgo my t-shirts.) (Would the preference then be 'white tie' or 'black tie'?)
|5th August 2005||Julian Whybra|
I do find it rather 'inexperienced' of you to suggest that people publish their addresses on this website. Next you'll be wanting National Insurance numbers and bank pin numbers. This approach won't endear you to anyone you might wish to take your website proposal seriously.
So, thank you for the invitation, but, as a rule I do not do book reviews, and I certainly have no need to 'test' my knowledge or ability in this way. I get a limited amount of time to do what I want in life and I like to devote it to primary research on the AZW (that is 'testing' enough) and not to historiographies and reviews. You'll forgive me, I hope, but what you've written so far does not show much knowledge of the AZW - are you sure you're the right person to be doing this sort of thing? I think others have realized this too and (from what they've written) are therefore suspicious of your motives.
Why bother with black tie? We could all go in fancy dress.
|5th August 2005||Paul Cubbin|
Well, I think its time for a heavyweight academic like myself to wade in. As for the involvement of women in the Zulu War - I though they were banned because they ran funny and couldn't throw things properly? And as for reverse parking the wagons in laager, don't get me started...
|6th August 2005||AMB|
It's the tropics - White tie, please!
|6th August 2005||Edward Bear|
I think you mean 'Red Sea Order'.
|11th August 2005||Bill Cainan|
When do you anticipate your web site will be up and running ? Do you have a name for it ?
|11th August 2005||Edward Bear|
Possibly: www.davidand adrianbooks are super.com?