Myth of Iron: Shaka in history
Myth of Iron extends the more literary study of Savage Delight to re-examine the historical evidence for who Shaka was, what he really achieved, and what his place is in southern Africa’s broader history. It is an exhaustive study of the sources, including a reappraisal of the often unquestioned white eyewitness accounts and a new emphasis on rich Zulu oral traditions. It was the first – and remains the only – full-length biography of Shaka by a professional historian. It systematically questions – and in most cases demolishes – the most fondly-held myths about Shaka: that he was either a military genius or a pathological murderer. The picture that emerges is in fact much more interesting – a real man working with complex politics within real demographic and ecological constraints.
University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 2006. 615pp.
Hardcover ISBN 978-1-86914-047-2
Paperback (also James Currey, London; Ohio University Press, USA) ISBN 978-1-86914-153-0