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Zulu Rising


Ian Knight has been publishing on the Anglo-Zulu war period for over twenty years. His most recent book is the highly acclaimed Zulu Rising, published in hardback, paperback and enhanced e-book (with extra pictures of the battlefields) by Pan Macmillan.



‘Although Knight is right to point out that it is impossible to be absolutely sure of what happened at Isandhlwana, his understanding of the terrain and grasp of the sources enable him to come as close to painting a coherent picture of the battle as we can hope for …this [is a] fine book.’

Professor Richard Holmes, The Literary Review


‘I loved it. A Washing of the Spears for the new millennium, but full of fresh thinking, new ideas and new wisdom from someone who has studied this subject for most of his life. I had the great good fortune to work with Ian on the first archaeological surveys and excavations at iSandlwana and in truth it was his writings that laid much of the groundwork for that project. I'm no expert on the Anglo-Zulu War, just an over-excited enthusiast. Ian is 'the' expert - but I'm delighted by the fact that he too remains a similarly excited enthusiast at the same time. Instead of blood, some writers have a story running through heart and veins - Ian Knight is one of those writers and iSandlwana is his story.’

Neil Oliver, historian, archaeologist and TV presenter.


Zulu Rising is a compelling and authoritative account …Readers of military history are eager to know what a war felt like at that time, what it must have felt like to suffer the heat and dread the confrontation with the enemy. Knight conveys all this and more. Zulu Rising is arguably the definitive work on the logistical mess that was Isandlwana’.

Stephen Wade, Times Literary Supplement.


‘In this exceptional book, Ian Knight manages to expose many of the Victorian myths while still capturing the kind of epic excitement that makes Zulu so stirring. It is a first-class work of military history, not least for its evocative and extensive use of Zulu sources’.

James McConnachie, The Sunday Times.


‘…thorough and definitive. Knight uses first-hand sources, both Zulu and British, with admirable even-handedness to examine the bloody clash between two different warrior traditions‘.

SC, Sunday Telegraph


‘Knight is mindful of the complexities on both sides, not least the reasons why Africans fought for the British Crown against the Zulus. There is no attempt to romanticise death …Knight‘s ability to capture the reality of the fighting and his combination of precise detail with the bigger picture helps make this book a gripping read‘.

Jeremy Black, BBC History magazine.


‘This magisterial but grippingly readable account is the culmination of a lifetime’s informed and critical engagement with the battles of iSandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Ian Knight knows firsthand every hill and donga of the two battlefields, is long familiar with the local people and their oral history, and is immersed in the archival evidence. Writing at the top of his form, and drawing fully on the vivid reports and reminiscences of the Zulu and British protagonists he so masterfully portrays, he succeeds in evoking the painfully stirred passions of men at war. Yet, at the same time, he presents the convoluted, confusing, sometimes obscure dynamics of the ebb and flow of battle with quite admirable clarity and assurance. In the process he disposes convincingly of the hoary legends that have grown up about the battles, and demolishes poorly founded more recent interpretations. The result is a compelling, wide-ranging and even-handed study that is now the definitive one in the field.’

Professor John Laband, author of The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation.


‘A definitive account …Knight misses nothing …’

Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail.


‘Deeply researched yet enthralling reading, this is a masterful study which meshes together both British and Zulu perspectives, and sheds new light in particular on iSandlwana’s position at the centre of complicated layers of overlapping conflict.’

Dr Adrian Greaves, Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society.


This is an extraordinary book, Knights tour-de-force, and, in the opinion of this reviewer, unlikely to be bettered.

Ian Castle, Military Illustrated.

'Ian Knights exhaustively detailed Zulu Rising is  700 vivid and engrossing pages.

Bill Nason, Cape Times.

'..a wonderfully coherent account of a vastly significant event in the annals of the British Army and the history of South Africait is a story told with such skill that the readers attention never flags. A masterly study…’

John Boje, Tonight (SA).



'When someone has studied the Zulu War as long and as hard as Ian Knight has - over 30 years - then every aspect has had microscopic examination. Such concentration allows layers of received wisdom and opinion to be stripped away until the bedrock of historical fact is revealedThis is not an exercise in apportioning blame; the reader is left to make up his own mind. And above all else Zulu Rising is a gripping read by a brilliant storyteller.

Irene Moore, The Armourer.


Get the Hardback here

Get the paperback here

Get the Kindle edition here