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John Laband - Author

About the Author

Books by John Laband

The assassination of King Shaka

The assassination of King Shaka

Author: John Laband Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/06/2020

The Fall of Rorke's Drift

The Fall of Rorke's Drift

Author: John Laband Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/09/2019

_'John Laband has long been the accepted authority on Anglo-Zulu War studies and his new work, The Fall of Rorke's Drift, is proof of his expertise'_ - Dr Adrian Greaves It is January 1879 and the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom are at war. Lord Carnarvon, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had successfully brought about federation in Canada in 1867, had believed a similar scheme would work in South Africa. But such plans are rejected by Boer leaders. Lord Chelmsford leads a British military expeditionary force to enter the Zulu Kingdom uninvited. A bloody battle ensues on 22 January 1879 at Isandlwana. The Zulus are the unexpected victors. After that brutal defeat, the British Army are at Rorke's Drift on the Buffalo River in Natal Province, South Africa. A few hundred British and colonial troops led by Lieutenants John Chard of the Royal Engineers and Gonville Bromhead face the might of the Zulu army of thousands led by Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande (CORR). Against the odds the British are victorious and this defeat marks the end of the Zulu nation's dominance of the region. The Defence of Rorke's Drift would go down in history as an iconic British Empire Battle and inspired Victorian Britain. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to military personnel. But what if the Zulus had defeated the British at Rorke's Drift and invaded Natal? In the first ever alternate history of the Anglo-Zulu War, historian John Laband asks that question. With his vast knowledge of the Anglo-Zulu War he turns history on its head and offers a tantalising glimpse of a very different outcome weaving a compelling and never-before told story of what could have been.

The eight Zulu kings

The eight Zulu kings

Author: John Laband Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/08/2018

The Battle of Majuba Hill

The Battle of Majuba Hill

Author: John Laband Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/11/2017

The ignominious rout of a British force at the battle of Majuba on 27 February 1881 and the death of its commander, Major General Sir George Pomeroy-Colley, was the culminating British disaster in the humiliating Transvaal campaign of 1880-1881 in South Africa. For the victorious Boers who were rebelling against the British annexation of their republic in 1877, Majuba became the symbol of Afrikaner resistance against British imperialism. On the flip side, Majuba gave the late Victorian British army its first staggering experience of modern warfare and signalled the need for it to reassess its training and tactics. Based on both British and Boer archival and contemporary sources, this balanced and fresh appraisal of Majuba situates it in the closely interlocked operational and political contexts of the Transvaal campaign. It analyses the contrasting military organizations and cultures of the two sides and clarifies how a Boer citizen militia with no formal training, but that handled modern small arms with lethal effect and expertly employed fire and movement tactics, was able to defeat professional-but hidebound-British soldiers. The book explains how a British field commander, such as Colley, already subject to the factional politics of command, also found his conduct of military operations subject to the close supervision of his superiors in London at the other end of the telegraph wire. His strategic objective was to break through the Boer positions holding the passes between the colony of Natal and Transvaal and to relieve the scattered British garrisons blockaded by the Boers. However, his defeats at Laing's Nek on 28 January and at Ingogo on 8 February alarmed the British government already concerned that the war was stirring up dangerous anti-British Afrikaner nationalism across South Africa. It instructed Colley to cease operations and open peace negations with the Boers. But the general, a highly talented staff officer holding his first independent command, was determined to retrieve his tattered military reputation. He side-stepped his orders and, in an attempt to outflank the Boer positions and win the war at a stroke, seized Majuba with disastrous consequences. Although British reinforcements were now pouring in and the suppression of the Boer rebellion still seemed feasible, Majuba was the last straw for the British government. To the disgust of the military who burned to expunge the shame of Majuba with a resounding victory, the politicians insisted on restoring the Transvaal Boers their independence.

The Transvaal Rebellion

The Transvaal Rebellion

Author: John Laband Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/01/2017

This book takes a unique look at the first Boer war by concentrating on the events and battles of the First Boer War. Due attention is also given to the 2nd Boer War - it's origins, key players and significance for the future of South Africa. The personal stories of heroism and sacrifice, sieges, rebellions and battles, make for an enthralling and dramatic tale - a classic of military history that will find a ready audience amongst military enthusiasts.

Zulu Warriors

Zulu Warriors

Author: John Laband Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/03/2014

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the British embarked on a concerted series of campaigns in South Africa. Within three years they waged five wars against African states with the intent of destroying their military might and political independence and unifying southern Africa under imperial control. This is the first work to tell the story of this cluster of conflicts as a single whole and to narrate the experiences of the militarily outmatched African societies. Deftly fusing the widely differing European and African perspectives on events, John Laband details the fateful decisions of individual leaders and generals and explores why many Africans chose to join the British and colonial forces. The Xhosa, Zulu, and other African military cultures are brought to vivid life, showing how varying notions of warrior honor and manliness influenced the outcomes for African fighting men and their societies.

Bringers of War

Bringers of War

Author: John Laband Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/07/2013

Long before coal-fuelled ships and machine-tooled firearms, in the age of sail and black powder, the Portuguese were engaged all around the coasts of Africa in capturing trading towns, seizing slaves and searching for mineral riches. They fought their ancient Muslim foes wherever they encountered them, overthrew African kingdoms and resisted Dutch, Omani and Ottoman rivals. Campaigning over difficult terrain and in notoriously inhospitable climates, these were far from one-sided contests. Often victory was theirs, but so too were crushing, ignominious defeats in the field, debilitating sieges and humiliating capitulations. These were clashes between very contrasting societies with their own methods of warfare, choice of weaponry and concepts of what it took to be a heroic warrior. The enthralling tale of the Portuguese in Africa before the nineteenth century deserves to be every bit as familiar as the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Yet, surprisingly, few if any of their ferocious African wars are known to English-speaking readers. In this impeccably researched and spellbinding new book, John Laband seeks to redress this imbalance expertly recalling this remarkable saga in full for the first time.

The A to Z of the Zulu Wars

The A to Z of the Zulu Wars

Author: John Laband Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/06/2010

Between 1838 and 1888 the recently formed Zulu kingdom in southeastern Africa was directly challenged by the incursion of Boer pioneers aggressively seeking new lands on which to set up their independent republics, by English-speaking traders and hunters establishing their neighboring colony, and by imperial Britain intervening in Zulu affairs to safeguard Britain's position as the paramount power in southern Africa. As a result, the Zulu fought to resist Boer invasion in 1838 and British invasion in 1879. The internal strains these wars caused to the fabric of Zulu society resulted in civil wars in 1840, 1856, and 1882-1884, and Zululand itself was repeatedly partitioned between the Boers and British. In 1888, the old order in Zululand attempted a final, unsuccessful uprising against recently imposed British rule. This tangled web of invasions, civil wars, and rebellion is complex. The A to Z of the Zulu Wars unravels and elucidates Zulu history during the 50 years between the initial settler threat to the kingdom and its final dismemberment and absorption into the colonial order. A chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, maps, photos, and over 900 cross-referenced dictionary entries that cover the military, politics, society, economics, culture, and key players during the Zulu Wars make this an important reference for everyone from high school students to academics.

Historical Dictionary of the Zulu Wars

Historical Dictionary of the Zulu Wars

Author: John Laband Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/05/2009

Between 1838 and 1888 the recently formed Zulu kingdom in southeastern Africa was directly challenged by the incursion of Boer pioneers aggressively seeking new lands on which to set up their independent republics, by English-speaking traders and hunters establishing their neighboring colony, and by imperial Britain intervening in Zulu affairs to safeguard Britain's position as the paramount power in southern Africa. As a result, the Zulu fought to resist Boer invasion in 1838 and British invasion in 1879. The internal strains these wars caused to the fabric of Zulu society resulted in civil wars in 1840, 1856, and 1882-1884, and Zululand itself was repeatedly partitioned between the Boers and British. In 1888, the old order in Zululand attempted a final, unsuccessful uprising against recently imposed British rule. This tangled web of invasions, civil wars, and rebellion is complex. The Historical Dictionary of the Zulu Wars unravels and elucidates Zulu history during the 50 years between the initial settler threat to the kingdom and its final dismemberment and absorption into the colonial order. A chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, maps, photos, and over 900 cross-referenced dictionary entries that cover the military, politics, society, economics, culture, and key players during the Zulu Wars make this an important reference for everyone from high school students to academics.

The Transvaal Rebellion

The Transvaal Rebellion

Author: John Laband Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/02/2005

This book takes a unique look at the first Boer war by concentrating on the events and battles of the First Boer War. Due attention is also given to the 2nd Boer War - it's origins, key players and significance for the future of South Africa. The personal stories of heroism and sacrifice, sieges, rebellions and battles, make for an enthralling and dramatic tale - a classic of military history that will find a ready audience amongst military enthusiasts.

The illustrated guide to the Anglo-Zulu War

The illustrated guide to the Anglo-Zulu War

Author: John Laband, Paul Thompson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/12/2004

The Illustrated guide to the Anglo-Zulu War is a guide to the famous clash in 1879 between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. The title describes and explains the origins of the conflict, the Zulu, British and colonial military systems, the combatants' tactics and strategies. It includes a narrative of the course of the campaign accompanied by maps of military operations, descriptions of the fortifications with detailed diagrams, and accounts with maps of all the major battles and several lesser engagements. All the campaign, battle and sector maps are in full colour, as are many of the pictures which enliven the text. The aim is to lead the reader through the history of the campaign and to guide them to the actual sites of the ware, while at the same time providing a sense of the human and social context in which military and civilian commentators of a previous century experienced the violence of invasion and war. In all its aspects this title is the essential guide to a full understanding of the Zululand campaign of 1879.

The Atlas of the Later Zulu Wars 1883-1888

The Atlas of the Later Zulu Wars 1883-1888

Author: John Laband Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2002

The Later Zulu wars of the 1880s were a last-ditch resistance to colonialism combined with bitter civil war, and their consequences proved more devastating for the Zulu people than the famous Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. They took place at a time of changing fighting methods and tactics for both the British and the Zulu - the last time the British Army went on campaign wearing scarlet was in Zululand in 1888. This book explains the nature of the diverse Zulu, British and Boer military forces fighting in Zululand, and the ways in which the British and the Boers fostered and exploited divisions among the Zulu people in order to maintain colonial control. The author's research (supported by detailed maps) traces the complex series of wars and battles in Zululand during the 1880s. He places the campaigns in their historical context and assesses their broader significance. This book is the sequel to The Illustrated Guide to the Anglo-Zulu War , written by the author and Paul Thompson, which is also published by the University of Natal Press.

The Illustrated Guide to the Anglo-Zulu War

The Illustrated Guide to the Anglo-Zulu War

Author: John Laband, Paul Thompson Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2000

The Illustrated Guide to the Anglo-Zulu War is a comprehensive, illustrated and expert guide to the famous clash in 1879 between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. The book describes and explains the origins of the conflict, the Zulu, British and colonial military systems, the combatants' tactics and strategies, and the course of the campaign. There are definitive maps of military operations and the battles, diagrams of fortifications and additional pictorial material, all of which provide a dramatic and visual explication of the war. The aim is to lead the reader through the campaign while including a sense of the human and social context in which warriors and civilian commentators of a previous century experienced the violent cataclysm of invasion. In all its aspects this book is the essential guide to a full understanding of the Zululand campaign of 1879.