Zulu Rising. Ian Knight/Pan, £8.99

A TRULY vivid account of one of the British army’s most famous battles is written through the eyes of the men who fought on both sides.

The battle of Isandlwana was the single most destructive incident in the 150-year history of British colonisation of South Africa. In one bloody day over 800 British troops, 500 of their allies and at least 2,000 Zulus were killed. The subsequent heroics at Rorke’s Drift are now legend.

Yet, this was a staggering defeat for the Empire and the consequences echoed brutally across the following decades as Britain took ruthless revenge.

The author reveals that the harshness of battle was the result of an inevitable clash between two aggressive warrior traditions.

Using Zulu oral archive, archaeological evidence and new research, Knight produced a weighty but fascinating account of a conflict that has shaped the political fortunes of the Zulu people to this day.