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The nineteenth century saw the British army engaged in a series of conflicts around the globe. In almost every continent the redcoats of British soldiers seemed to be in perpetual action against enemies of the Crown. The Anglo-Zulu War, fought in southern Africa in 1879, was one of the bloodiest of these conflicts, and one of the most famous, and it has fascinated historians ever since. But the story has never, until now, been re-told in verse – and that is what Harry Turner does in the sequence of poems he has composed for this memorable volume.
He concentrates on the relationship between the British and the Zulus, on the politics and ambition that gave rise to the war and on the series of bloody battles that followed – in particular at Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift and Ulundi. Graphically he recalls how King Cetshwayo's Zulu warriors, armed mainly with spears, gave the British a mauling before they were finally overcome.
The story has often been told before, but rarely in such an original and evocative way. Harry Turner's work will be an absorbing introduction to the subject for readers who are coming to it for the first time, and it will add a new dimension to the understanding of readers who are familiar with the many more conventional histories of the conflict.
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