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|11th March 2002||ISANDLWANA BOOK|
By GLENN STACY
I finally have to give my impressions on the Isandlwana book by Dr. Greaves. A couple of months ago I happened to see this book on the Barnes & Noble book store web site. I was very thrilled about it because I had always hoped that there would be a book dedicated strictly to the Battle of Isandlwana. By the photo of the cover of the book, this looked like this would be the ultimate book about this epic battle. I went ahead and ordered.
I, then, found this awesome site and started to read the various discussion topics. When the topic came up regarding this book, and read all the negative comments, I wanted to dismiss them all. I had not received the book yet and I did not want all of this negativism to affect my enjoyment of this book. But I have to say, that after finally reading this book, I will have to jump on the band wagon and agree with all of the negative comments. In a nutshell, in my opinion, there was hardly anything written about the actual battle (one very small chapter), another small chapter on the flight of the fugitives. It seems that this book should have been another labled about the history of the Zulu War, not Isandlwana. To this day the Washing of the Spears chapter of Isandlwana is by far the best account of the battle. This account included almost everything that happened in the battle, including the personalities involved (names of the officers of the 24th and other individuals involved). In essence this was a blow by blow account of the battle, whereas Dr. Greaves' book seemed to be just another overview that did not describe very much. Another book, regarding Rorke's Drift: an epic of a Zulu seige by Yorke also had more info regarding Isandlwana. He even included photos of men who participated and died in this battle. This should have all been included in this book by Dr. Greaves. I have also found another web site that has a list of all the men killed from the 24th, as well as the other untis involved. Again this should have been included. I only hope that one day there can be an ultimate book written about this battle that would include everything I mentioned above. I do not profess to be a book critic in anyway, but being an avid military history reader I expect to have more information available to read, especially if the book is primarily focused on a single battle. I live in the United States and read a lot of books on the American Civil War and these authors do precisely what I like to read. I have always been interested in British military history as well and I would like to read the same quality of book. I have a couple of friends that also like the Zulu War, as well. Unfortunatley I did not and would not recommend this book to them. I would recommend sticking with the Washing of the Spears, Rorke's Drift:Epic of a Zulu Seige or the Osprey book by Ian Knight.
I only hope that a second edition would be better.
|12th March 2002||david truesdale|
I notice that Dr. Greaves book is available in the Military Book Club for 99p!
By the way does anyone have a spare copy of 'They Fell Like Stones' by John Young, I will pay a fair price. Thank you.
|13th March 2002||Julian Whybra|
Well, yes, I agree, except for the part about DR Morris. Morris's book, though highly entertaining and a superb impetus to all budding Zulu War readers, is not annotated, has many errors of detail (but nowhere near as many as Mr Greaves's book), and is unable to provide any evidence for his positioning of the British line. I would refer you to FWD Jackson's original 1965 article 'Isandhlwana: The Sources Re-examined' republished by the RRW Museum in 1999, and also to his book which is about to be published. By the way, beware of lists of 24th soldiers on the web, they are notoriously inaccurate - you just don't know who has produced them!
|13th March 2002||Trevor Finney|
Did anyone see the Television Prog'm a couple of months ago on Isandlwana. A team of investigator/archiologists did a survey of the battle site! Their findings were very interesting! In the film ZULU DAWN. The red coats were shown lined up in companies, 2 deep. Just in front of the main camp tents. But when they did a ground survey. They found empty cartridge cases a good 100 mtrs forward of were they thought they had made their stand! What they deduced from this was that to cover the terrain the Zulu's were advancing from. The red coats would have had to form a single line in front of the advacing Impi's. With perhaps a yard between each man. The result of this stretched formation contributed to the fact that it was easier for the Zulu to penetrate the British line and get in behind them! There were other factors that contributed as well. If I havn't bored you to death, I would be happy to fill you in on the other points mentioned if requested?
|14th March 2002||Julian Whybra|
Hang on! The film found cartridge cases 100 m in front of where the traditional firing line is located, not in front of the tent site. But this is not new, David Jackson deduced this in 1965 from reading the primary sources. The survivors' sources also say that the redcoats were in two lines (a traditional formation). The sources also say that the line was not penetrated - there is no evidence for this at all - after all, if the line were penetrated, the bodies would all have been found out on the firing line, and they weren't. The TV prog you refer to - Secrets of the Dead - was badly done raising much smoke which is not in accordance with primary source fire!