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In 1879, armed only with their spears, their rawhide shields, and their incredible courage, the Zulus challenged the might of Victorian England and, initially, inflicted on the British the worst defeat a modern army has ever suffered at the hands of men without guns.
This is the definitive account of the rise of the Zulu nation under the great ruler Shaka and its fall under Cetshwayo.
The story is studded with tales of drama and heroism: the Battle of Isandhlwana, where the Zulu army wiped out the major British column; and Rorke's Drift, where a handful of British troops beat off thousands of Zulu warriors and won eleven Victoria Crosses. Acclaimed for its scholarship, its monumental range, and its spellbinding readability, The Washing of the Spears is a gripping portrait of not just the Zulu War of 1879, but also of Britain's colonial policy at this moment.
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