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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The many battles of Isandlwana: a transformation in historiography
Author:Thompson, P.S.ISNI
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:military operations
Anglo-Zulu War
Abstract:The Battle of Isandlwana (22 January) was a dramatic turning-point in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, and has become an icon of South African heritage because of the crushing defeat inflicted on the invading imperial British army by the indigenous Zulu one. The narration of the battle has changed over 125 years. It began with a painful analysis of the British defeat and has come to an imaginative synthesis of Zulu victory. Initially it was British error that accounted for the result, now it is Zulu genius. Meanwhile the battle has been taken apart and put together again so many times and in so many ways that there is less clarity than before about what happened. Much of the difficulty with reconstructing the battle lies in the fact that only a few of the writers are professional historians. The present author analyses the existing secondary literature on the battle, but, in conclusion, doubts whether an authoritative history of the battle is possible. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans. [ASC Leiden abstract]