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Shaka Zulu

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  175 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Shaka Zulu was founder of the Zulu nation, a born leader and a brilliant general. This remarkable king, was a contemporary of Napolean, and his achievements rivalled the Emperor's. For in the space of twelve years, he organized an immense army of skilled and disciplined warriors, conquering and pacifying a territory larger than Europe.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 3rd 1985 by Penguin Books (first published 1955)
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Neil Davies
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating book about a fascinating man and culture. I was left with the feeling that, had Shaka been living in, say, Europe and been white he would have been heaped with long lasting praise as an innovator, master tactician, talented General and empire builder - he would be spoken of in the same terms as Napoleon or Alexander The Great or the armies of Rome. However, he lived in Africa and was black and, except for a select few, no one outside of Africa knew of his amazing achievements, his ...more
James Burns
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Ritter has put Shaka's reign in its proper prospective, using 1st hand accounts of people that lived during his life. Using diaries of Englishmen who lived among the Zulu's during Shaka,s reign. He also was fortunate to have the exprtise and papers from paternal grandfather, and the oral histories from Zulu elders. To really evaluate the life of Shaka you have to breakdown his life into three parts. #1 before the death of his mother, #2 during the year of mourning of the death of his mother, ...more
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
At the ouset, I felt this book might be a little too gruesome but the 9/10 year old class who I read it to really seemed to enjoy it. It involves a tale of valour and self discipline. Shaka is a young African boy who makes it his life ambition to bring an army forward through discipline and hard work. He is an aggressive militarian who makes his army march barefoot but his victories rival over those of Napolean. He built a massive Zulu empire which was larger than Europe. Many of the young liste ...more
Cecelia Hightower
The author was born in 1890 in, what is now known as Zulu land, and wrote this book in 1955. After the first Boar War the author's father was appointed Native Commissioner and the author learned the Zulu language from his nurses and the time he spent with Zulu families. "This book is a biography of the founder of the Zulu Nation, his methods of combining small tribal groups into a single cohesive nation, and his methods of defending this nation. To me this was a great read about history of South ...more
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History Buffs
This one is in my top 5 of all time. Such an interesting character in history. Shaka Zulu was a contemporary of Napolean and controlled more land mass than Napolean ever did. Great stories in this book, and really interesting background on why the Zulu nation is so proud today.
Steve Mayberry
Jun 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
How is this still categorized as non-fiction? Based on people who write GoodReads reviews, this unintentional comedy is still being taken at face-value as history. Only a couple reviews here mention the historical inaccuracies, and even those rate the book positively.

This is a sort of darkly comic Zulu mythology written by a colonial apologist. Ritter plays a full-on omniscient narrator, imagining wildly preposterous dialogs and blow-by-blow accounts of even minor childhood fights, most of whic
Elliot Gates
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
As is the case with any oral history, there is likely a significant degree of fantasy thrown in for effect. That being said, the author did very well sourcing everything he could from particular persons, and his experience living alongside the Zulu's (albeit not in Shaka's time) put him in a unique position.

The story itself is very interesting, and paints a vivid picture of the man that Shaka was. Extreme in both tenderness and cruelty. I particularly enjoyed the conversations that Shaka had wi
Therese Dotray-Tulloch
Well-written biography of the founder of the Zulu nation.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Buy, Borrow or Burn: Buy! If you can find it.

The best account of one of history's most interesting leaders.

One Word: Magisterial.
Julie Doel
This is undoubtedly a fascinating story of the life of Shaka Zulu, the founder of the Zulu nation. Unfortunately the descriptions of torture were so graphic that I was unable to finish reading the book. It is rare that I give up on a book, but this one made me feel physically sick. I am deeply aware of human's capability to inflict pain on each other, but this was one step beyond for me I'm afraid.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have read this before but this time it was merely for research purposes.
One of the better texts regarding Shaka, probably because the author was closer to his subject than many late comers and knows the Zulu traditions and oral history well. He leans probably a touch too much on the generous side regarding some of Shaka's excesses but his knowledge of the culture cannot be faulted.
Nowadays it would probably be written in a more dramatic, less scholarly fashion but it is informative, readable a
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice and readable history book, part story and part history, covering Shaka's life from youth to death and some of the factors which may have influenced his actions. Also covers some of the battles which made him so successful. Author seems to take his side, defending him against the bad reputation other authors have given him.
John Donoghue
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book about the founder of the Zulu nation.

What an amazing story ... superb book that you want to re-read again and again.

It reads live a novel ..full of action .. full of interesting facts ...
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Proceed with caution: not current or reliable history; also a "white" view of Shaka, tapping into black oral narratives (for the current scoop, see Caroline Hamliton, Terrific Majesty). Still a gripping read, however, of a figure who continues to loom in South African and global consciousness.
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a great historical book. It is about an African tribe lead by Shaka Zulu, their great leader. The culture of the tribe and how it grew under his rule are so interesting. I highly recommend this book, especially to people interested in history and learning about a culture.
Christa Lindsay
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Still busy with this one, but a good one to learn about the history and culture of our own Zulu people and the dirty politics of the British, even in 1824!
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Written in the 50's. Hard to follow. Interesting though.
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