Swords, lances, bows and arrows, clubs, rifles, cannon—weapons of war fill the "Warriors of History" series, which is designed to capture the attention of boys who may be reluctant to read, but are well-attuned to the constant violence and bloodshed of films, games, and the daily news. Each volume introduces a military organization or cult in four chapters, including at least one gruesome incident for thrill value. Some of the volumes are better than others, some contain mistakes—all offer unattributed illustrations (a major fault of this series), ranging from modern photographs and movie stills to period engravings, prints or paintings. In Zulu Warriors, chapters describe the historical background of Zulus who fought in the nineteenth-century Anglo-Zulu War, a warrior's life and training, Zulu weapons and tactics, and the decline of the Zulu nation. Text (though abbreviated) and illustrations are generally correct; however, the portrait of King Shaka seems greatly idealized, though it is said to have been done in his lifetime (1787—1828). Especially fascinating are contemporary photographs, including one of burly King Cetshwayo taken in 1872. Readers seriously interested in the Zulus and their history might try Diane Stanley's Shaka: King of the Zulus (Morrow, 1988) or The Zulu Kingdom by Sandra Klopper (Watts, 1998). Although this volume presents interesting, but limited, information about an African people, parents and teachers will need to decide whether a series focusing on war, violence and cruelty is appropriate for their children's classrooms. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
Terri Dougherty has written more than 90 books for children, including 10 weather-related titles. She wrote for newspapers before exploring other writing styles and lives in Appleton, Wisconsin, with her family.