Myth of Iron: Shaka in History

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We know very little about Shaka. This statement may come as a surprise, since over the decades we have heard a great deal about this most famous - or infamous - of Zulu leaders. People will be familiar with a cluster of dramatic stories about Shaka, derived from school or university textbooks, museums, the film Zulu, television programmes, or word of mouth. Most of these stories have come to sound so familiar that they generally pass unquestioned. Virtually everything about the popular portrait is wrong. Dan Wylie re-examines what pretends to be the biography. He lays out all the available evidence on Shaka's reign. What emerges is a work of historical detection. There are many Zulu oral testimonies. These are as flawed - even if just as entertaining - as the four main white eyewitness accounts of Shaka's last four years. Like Jesus of Nazareth, hefty attention is paid to the end of his life, while other areas attract no evidence at all. DAN WYLIE teaches in the Department of English at Rhodes University in Grahamstown North America: Ohio U Press; South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
(An) intelligent discussion demonstrating a deep and sympathetic understanding of nineteenth-century Zulu society and politics. AFRICAN HISTORY Wylie has done a magnificent job of trying to separate fact from fiction and of reconciling very different accounts of the same events....No future study can afford to ignore either Wylie's research or his conclusion. Eminently readable as well as scholarly, this book deserves the widest possible audience. AFRICAN RESEARCH & DOCUMENTATION It is an important contribution to the historiography of the early Zulu kingdom, offering a detailed if provocative reconstruction of the history of the origins of the kingdom and particularly of Shaka's reign. - John Lambert
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821418482
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 636
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Wylie teaches in the department of English at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. His publications include Savage Delight: White Myths of Shaka and Dead Leaves.

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