Brutal Valour: The Tragedy of Isandlwana

  • by James Mace
  • Narrated by Jonathan Waters
  • 15 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It is December 1878, and war looms on the horizon in South Africa. British high commissioner Sir Henry Bartle-Frere seeks to dismantle the powerful neighboring kingdom of the Zulus and uses an incursion along the disputed border as his justification for war. He issues an impossible ultimatum to the Zulu king, Cetshwayo, demanding he disband his armies and pay massive reparations. With a heavy heart, the king prepares his nation for war against their former allies.
Leading the invasion is Lieutenant General Sir Frederic Thesiger, Baron Chelmsford, a highly experienced officer fresh off a decisive triumph over the neighboring Xhosa tribes. He and Frere are convinced that a quick victory over the Zulus will negate any repercussions from the home government for launching what is, in essence, an illegal war.
Recently arrived to South Africa are newly recruited privates Arthur Wilkinson and Richard Lowe, members of C Company, 1/24th Regiment of Foot under the venerable Captain Reginald Younghusband. Eager for adventure, they are prepared to do their duty both for the empire and for their friends.
As Frere's ultimatum expires, the army of British redcoats and allied African auxiliaries crosses the uMzinyathi River at Rorke's Drift into Zululand. Ten days later the British and Zulus will meet their destiny at the base of a mountain called Isandlwana.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


A Wonderful insight into a well known battle brilliantly told. The characters became very real.
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- Kevin McSweeney

The Greatest British Defeat Explained

Thoroughly engaging audio book, which compelled me to buy the follow on book 2. The battle at Isandlwana is well known and well documented; however, this book treats the subject with an air of personal empathy and deals with the two sides equally well both prior to, during and after the battle.

Overall the book is well presented and the story clearly compelling; its one shortfall may well be the performance, which I found a tiny bit overly theatrical at times (but I can only compliment Jonathan Waters on his reading).

The personal stories blended well with the objective of the book; and brought to light a couple of items that in the film "Zulu Dawn" that were not dealt with; and indeed highlighted some of the errors that are contained within that same film production. This book helps put the record straight from the point of view of the film production.

The language is crude but appropriate in places; and this is what gives the book that personal reflective tone rather than reading (or listening) to a non-fiction historical book.

Worth a listen; and not excessively long, so you will not get unduly tired of it.
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- Mr. Alan R. Jenkins

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-03-2017
  • Publisher: Legionary Books