34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A fine account of the rise and fall of a proud nation.,
This review is from: The Washing of the Spears: A History of the Rise of the Zulu Nation under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879 : Rise and Fall of the Great Zulu Nation (Paperback)
From the early pages to the very end, Donald Morris gives a detailed yet enthralling account of the rise and fall of the Zulus as a nation. In the beginning, they , as the white man, were invaders in Southern Africa, and the early chapters evoke little sympathy for the rise of the nation under Shaka, its unifying leader. The real losers at this time were the Bushmen and Hottentots. But as the book progresses, there is a gradually developing air of despair about the descriptions of Shaka's royal successors trying to come to terms with the power and ambition of the British. The incomprehension which marked the relationship is at times truly pathetic, and in the end it became shameful how the nation was destroyed by imperial insecurity and the ambition of ruthless individuals.
When Cetshwayo, then king, was captured at the end of the war of 1879, he was taken to Cape Town en route to London. It was the first modern town he had seen. "I am a very old man", he whispered as he gazed at the shipping in the bay. He was only 52, but he had seen his nation, little removed from the Iron Age, destroyed by men from a country where steamships, railways and cities were commonplace. They never had a chance.
There were acts of bravery and devotion to duty on both sides, but in the end, no winners in any human sense. This is a marvellous and moving book for anyone interested in people and their histories.