- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Frontline Books; Revised edition (30 Jun. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848325835
- ISBN-13: 978-1848325838
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.3 x 23.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke's Drift Paperback – 30 Jun 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
After Isandlwana, the victorious tribesmen swarmed on several miles to the missionary compound, comprising a residence/hospital and storehouse, at Rorke's Drift. Here, for five hours in the late afternoon and evening of January 22nd, 154 remnant troops of the 2nd/24th successfully held off a siege by some 4,500 assailants. This stalwart defense, the crowning glory in the history of the 24th (now the Royal Regiment of Wales), is the subject of LIKE WOLVES ON THE FOLD, also by Snook.
I'm no expert on such narratives, but this book seems to me to be as exemplary an account of a small unit defensive action as one can find anywhere. Based on after-action reports and participants' memoirs, it's of the sort I would have expected from Custer and his 7th Cavalry troopers, or the Alamo defenders, or the 300 Spartans of Thermopylae, had any of the former heroic bands had the good fortune to survive. But at Rorke's Drift, luck had little to do with it - just gritty determination, an adequate supply of ammo, inspired leadership from Lieutenants John Chard and Gonville Bromhead, and not just a little desperation; they were surrounded.
The volume includes a commendable 33-page section of photographs and painting reproductions.Read more ›
It does make reference to his book on Isandlwana and if you have not read it I would suggest reading that first although it is not essential.
For those who more than a superficial review of the battle this is a "must read".
Simply put if you, like me, picked up this book because of only having a hazy history of the matter from the film Zulu! ('Fousands of 'em!) then you are the one needing the lesson in military history. And there could not be a better author for it.It is a much better book than it initially seemed as it is a follow on from the first book, and once you get 'established' it becomes that rare thing amongst the history section - a great book.
Putting to rest many popular myths raised by the film - notably there was no 'ordered fire' from the start so everyone was basically firing at will (so forget the line in the film when given the order to fire at will 'That's very nice of him!'), and also there was no close harmony singing to raise morale.
So forget all that and, without giving anything else away, what you have is a well written book, that drags you into the soldier's boots, puts you in the mind of the officers and shows the sheer terror, valour and ferocity of the fight.
Mike Snook also lays to rest some long held beliefs about the roles the men played based on simple facts and his own military thinking. You cannot deny that it was a brave and amazing effort that allowed them to hold out, but you also cannot deny that it would never have been such a great stand if it had not been for the out and out disaster that was Isandlwana.
With the simple addition of some excellent plans, some really good photos and a final chapter that actually tells you what happened to the men in the years after this is a fully rounded and, yes, 'filling' account of Rorke's Drift.
The fame of Rorke's Drift is such that this book joins a long line of others. What differentiates it is that this is written by an experienced, serving officer. Not only that, but a serving officer in the Royal Regiment of Wales that incorporates the old 24th Regiment that provided most of the Drift's gallant defenders. The author's first-hand knowledge of military tactics, chains of command and psychology enables him to offer fresh insights into this historic action and especially into the motivations of those who took part. While this is the book's strongest selling point, it may also account for one or two weaknesses, in that the author seems unusually lenient towards some members of his own profession. Other writers, for example, have criticized Major Spalding, the original commanding officer of Rorke's Drift, for failing to return to his post having left it in the morning to ride to another depot a few miles away. In Mike Snook's account, Spalding's actions are not only excusable but entirely justifiable. Of course, he may well be right and he certainly makes a good case.
There are other minor points, such as the fact that Private 'Old King' Cole seems to be killed twice, and the question of whether NNC Lieutenant Adendorf did or did not take part in the defence is glossed over rather quickly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
arrived on time in excellent condition First cl;ass read an insight into a well known action with untold stories.Published 1 month ago by Mr. J. D. Roach
Excellent account of the courage of BOTH armies in a small not very important battle of the Anglo-Zulu war of the 1800's.Published 2 months ago by peter walton
i have read many books on the zulu war and this has to be one
of the best, it of course helps that he was once the co of the royal regiment
of wales of which the... Read more
Great companion book to How can Man Die Better. Great narrative well researched exciting reading.Published 11 months ago by The Gentleman
I was somewhat trepidatious about this having loved the film epic but what a fine read. Enlightening and informative with highly descriptive text. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.Published 18 months ago by Pipmeldrew
My Great- Great Grandfather fought at Rorke's Drift and was one of the men awarded the VC so my interest was personal.Published 20 months ago by Helena
I have a number of books on the Zulu wars, in particular books on the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
Brilliant read. I am amazed at the research that must have gone into writing this book. It brought out the terror that there must have been, to have been there. Read morePublished on 5 Sept. 2013 by A Yates