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

Overview


Wednesday 22 January 1879 was one of the most dramatic days in the annals of military history. In the morning, a modern British army was swept aside by the onset of a seemingly unstoppable Zulu host at Isandlwana. Nearby, at a remote border outpost on the Buffalo River, a single company of the 24th Regiment and a few dozen recuperating hospital patients were passing another hot, monotonous day. News of the disaster across the river came like a bolt from the blue. Retreat was not an option. It seemed certain that...
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Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke's Drift

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Overview


Wednesday 22 January 1879 was one of the most dramatic days in the annals of military history. In the morning, a modern British army was swept aside by the onset of a seemingly unstoppable Zulu host at Isandlwana. Nearby, at a remote border outpost on the Buffalo River, a single company of the 24th Regiment and a few dozen recuperating hospital patients were passing another hot, monotonous day. News of the disaster across the river came like a bolt from the blue. Retreat was not an option. It seemed certain that the Rorke's Drift detachment would share the terrible fate of their comrades. Following on from How Can Man Die Better, Colonel Snook brings the insights of a military professional to bear in this strikingly original account. It is an extraordinary tale a victory largely achieved by the sheer bloody-mindedness in adversity of the British infantryman, fighting at the remarkable odds of over thirty to one. The heroics of all eleven VC winners are recounted in detail, and we are offered new insights into how the Zulu attack unfolded and how 150 men achieved their improbable victory. The author describes the remainder of the war, from the recovery of the lost Queen's Colour of the 24th to the climactic charge of the 17th Lancers at Ulundi. We return to Isandlwana to consider culpability, and learn of the often tragic fates of many of the war's participants. Like Wolves is a remarkable work, and the author's unbridled respect for the fighting qualities of British soldier and his abiding affection for the Zulu people shines through.
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Editorial Reviews

Toy Soldier and Model Figure
...intriguing new facts about what, up to now, has been the generally accepted account...extremely readable, wellillustrated and informative.
Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

Journal of Military History

"Lieutenant Colonel Mike Snook has put together a nice little book covering the events of 22-23 January 1879 when a tiny detachment of British soldiers held their own against sustained attacks by a seemingly overwhelming n umber of Zulu warriors...Snook describes the events in a manner that is readable and enjoyable. He keeps the story short, yet follows the actions of as many of the specific individuals as extant records make possible...Perhaps the best feature of Wolves on the Fold is that the reader has the sense of being told the exciting story of courage and tenacity backing military training and decision-making, as if in conversation...for a story that has been told many times, by many fine writers, Colonel Snook succeeds in making his version both entertaining and educational...the sheer volume of information regarding the men who participated in the struggle both at Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana is invaluable and reason enough to add the book to one's collection."

Militaria Mart

"This is a remarkable work, and the author's unbridled respect for the fighting qualities of the British soldier and his abiding affection for the Zulu people shines through."

Rorkescriftvc.com
"Written by a serving officer of the Royal Regiment of Wales, formerly the 24th, Like Wolves on the Fold is the fascinating true story of one of the most improbable victories in military history ... A collection of inset photographs and artwork, most in black and white but a few in color, round out this rousing military history, which pays full respect to both sides in a bloody conflict."


Collected Miscellany
"[Like Wolves on the Fold] is outstanding. You can tell that Snook put a lot of time and effor into researching and writing this masterpiece of historical writing. He weaves into his research the logic of a military commander...This book is an excellent example of scholarship and easy-to-read history."

Military History, December 2006

“Although the legendary defense of Rorke’s Drift has certainly been documented before, Snook’s second book is a brilliant historical achievement. From the beginning his narrative leaps from each page to the next, making the reader feel as if he is sometimes standing alongside Lieutenants John Chard and Gonville Bromhead. Even so, when objectively read, the book clearly gives equal recognition to the martial courage of the defending British soldiers and attacking Zulu warriors alike…Like Wolves on the Fold is a highly recommended addition to the Zulu War enthusiast’s library. It is a very well documented and outstandingly written saga of what may well be considered a Thermopylae of the British Army.”

Military History Online

"I really enjoyed this book ... Very few battles have the desperation, excitement and intensity of Rorke's Drift and this book does the battle justice. I highly recommend this book."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781848325838
  • Publisher: Frontline Books
  • Publication date: 6/19/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 725,535
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    The author presents a gripping account of this remarkable battle with a well-researched discussion of what is likely the most pertinent original source evidence. Bringing a military profeesional's understanding of a soldier's life and perspective, the author provides fascinating insights into the conduct of individual enlisted men and officers, both British, Zulu, and other nationalities. His analysis and conclusions let the assegai fall where it may, placing credit or blame upon whoever he finds deserving. His storytelling skills are particularly evident during the battle narratives. This is one absolutely fascinating book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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