Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defense of Rorke's Drift

Mike Snook, Author, Huw Lloyd-Jones, Foreword by . Greenhill $34.95 (302p) ISBN 978-1-85367-659-8

A lieutenant colonel in the Royal Regiment of Wales, Snook offers a blow-by-blow account of the heroic defense of Rorke's Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, made famous by the 1964 British movie classic Zulu . Rorke's Drift was an "isolated, lightly held, and completely unfortified" garrison on the edge of Zululand and served as a depot for the advancing British army. On January 22, 1879—"one of the most calamitous... and one of the most renowned days" in the history of the British Empire—a British column was decimated by a Zulu army at the Battle of Isandlwana, the subject of Snook's earlier volume How Can Man Die Better . Late that afternoon, a force of some 4,500 Zulus who had missed the earlier action descended on the garrison at Rorke's Drift—finding it "too tempting a target to resist." The 150 men at the garrison held their ground against wave after wave of frontal attacks—the fighting often hand-to-hand. The battle raged into the night before the Zulus finally withdrew. Seventeen defenders lost their lives, while 13 received the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest honor for valor. The story of Rorke's Drift is well documenented, and Snook adds primarily "a soldier's perspective," recreating the battle in scrupulous detail and high drama. The climax comes early, however, and much of the final third of the book—such as an extended analysis regarding responsibility for the disaster at Isandlwana—feels extraneous. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 302 pages - 978-1-84832-583-8
Ebook - 226 pages - 978-1-78346-994-9
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