Custer and the Sioux, Durnford and the Zulus

Parallels in the American and British Defeats at the Little Bighorn (1876) and Isandlwana (1879)


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About the Book

In June 1876 the 7th U.S. Cavalry was savagely defeated at the Little Bighorn in the Montana wilderness during an attempt to seize Sioux and Cheyenne hunting grounds. Three years later redcoats mirrored this utter disaster with an equally high-handed grab for Zulu lands in South Africa.  Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony W. Durnford had much in common, from modes of dress to the way they died. This book interweaves the stories of the two soldiers and their final battles, revealing how, to an astonishing degree, similar personalities, aims, tactics, weapons, stupidity and a gross underestimation of the powers of the native people led to calamitous defeat.

About the Author(s)

Paul Williams has worked in the television and film industries as a writer, producer and director. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Bibliographic Details

Paul Williams

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos & illustrations, 4 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9794-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2032-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Prologue   1
1. Their Land Is Ours   3
2. Deception and Deceit   22
3. The Impossible Ultimatum   29
4. The ­Three-Column Plan   38
5. The ­Three-Column Advance   54
6. The Divided Command   79
7. The Last Man, the Last Bullet   99
8. Besieged   126
9. Finding the Dead and the Living   142
10. So Who Was to Blame?   156
11. The Fading Comet   166
12. Aftermath   178
Appendix A: Report on the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Reno)  185
Report (Benteen)  190
Appendix B: The Court of Inquiry (Isandlwana)  192
Chapter Notes   199
Bibliography   205
Index   207

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Paul Williams is to be commended for marshaling relevant sources and identifying key parallels between commanders and battles in his suggestive comparative study”—Michigan War Studies Review
  • “Insightful…brilliantly reproduced photographs…the numerous maps are models of clarity and precision”—True West.