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Rorke's Drift Hardcover – 11 Jul 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (11 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304359602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304359608
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 16.4 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 690,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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The DAILY MAIL ran an extract from RORKE'S DRIFT by Adrian Greaves on Saturday 22nd June. Adrian Greaves will be interviewed on BBC RADIO WALES's 'Good Morning Wales' (their equivalent of the Today programme) on Thursday 11th July. '...this account of the legendary battle of Rorke's Drift is highly recommen

Book Description

The story of the bravest battle ever fought.

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During the reign of Queen Victoria, there were more than enough recruits to make conscription unnecessary and taking the queen's shilling, and all it stood for, was a legally binding contract between the recruit and the army. Read the first page
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Highly recommended history of this remarkable display of bravery and heroism by a goup of men who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. As the author notes, there were many things about the Zulu War that much public opinion during the time thought objectionable. However, this stirring victory made deserved heroes out of its participants.
It is extremely readable, very thourough, and I will never look at Acting Commissioner Dalton in the film "Zulu" in the same way again. Full of remarkable nuggets.
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Format: Hardcover
Adrian Greaves new account of the legendary battle at Rorke's Drift between a few thousand brave Zulu warriors and a small force of equally brave British soldiers is bound to be the definitive book on the subject for some time to come. Over 450 pages in length with a number of black and white photographs and 10 maps the author presents the full picture of this epic stand and places it in the context of the British campaign into Zulu Land.
The book is set in two parts, the first half (202 pages) offers the reader a narrative of the events leading up to the British invasion, the battle at Isandlwana, the final battle at Rorke's Drift, and then the events leading to the end of the campaign. The second half of the book (over 240 pages) is taken up with numerous chapters and appendices dealing with a host of material in relation to the people involved and the battle itself.
Subjects covered include the medical treatment of the wounded, personalities involved, an examination of the Roll of Rorke's Drift, medal citations, history of the 24th Regiment, archaeological investigations at the battlefield, and a visitor's guide to Rorke's Drift. Seven appendices that provide a host of other information follow these chapters. This part of the book is a researchers gold mine and offers the amateur historian a wealth of information on the battle.
Overall it's a very interesting book to read and very well presented. The narrative was easy to follow and I enjoyed the accounts of the fighting at Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift. However, although I was amazed at the amount of information offered and I appreciate the research that has gone into this book, I wanted more of the narrative to be concentrated on the actual battle at Rorke's Drift.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anybody thinking about writing a book about the Battle of Rorke's Drift should read this book and give up the idea. Unless you own a time-machine, I really don't see how this book can be bettered. It is a tour-de-force of historical research, which explodes many of the assumptions linked to the battle, thanks mainly to the famous film "Zulu" and John Prebble's rather error-strewn screenplay for it.

The first misconception that Adrian Greaves tackles is the one about where the 24th Foot was garrisoned: not in Wales. The Regiment moved to Wales after the Zulu War, but it definitely wasn't a Welsh regiment in 1879, so that bit about raising the troops' spirits by singing "Men of Harlech" made for great cinema, but dodgy history.

Greaves shows how Rorke's Drift should never have been the scene of a battle. Not only had Cetshwayo, the Zulu King, done nothing to provoke the war (or the British government in London anything, either, in fact), but Cetshwayo had forbidden his generals to launch incursions outside Zululand. Rorke's Drift was in Natal, only just inside Natal, but crucially out of bounds, according to Cetshwayo's orders.

No description of a battle can ever re-discover every detail of the action. The death, the injury, the smoke, the fear and the noise all conspire to prevent a genuinely complete account of a battle from ever emerging. I think this author has done as good a job as is humanly imaginable with Rorke's Drift, allowing for the fact that contemporary historians didn't try all that hard to get eye-witness accounts from Zulu survivors. Despite the Zulus' losses at Rorke's Drift, most of the Zulus present left the place unscathed, but that doesn't mean they escaped the bloodbaths later in the war.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well reseached comprehensive history of the battle made famous in the film "Zulu". It also gives a history of each of the actual men who took part in the battle. Unfortunately, it shows that the survivors were treated quite appalingly after the battle. They were left at the station or moved to Helpmakaar where they were dressed in rags, (having had to rip up their uniforms in order to be able to hold the extremely hot rifles during the battle). The sanitation was non-existant, and they had no cover from the elements. (They didn't even have paper to be able to write home!!). All this happened during the rainy season. Having heard and read about the recent lack of support given to British troops, (Afghanistan, Iraq etc), it seems that nothing changes!!
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Format: Paperback
This book was delivered in record time and is a great account of what happened at Rorkes drift in 1879. It is so well written, it takes on the persona of a novel and hard to put down. I will take it with me on holiday to read again as it brings the entire event to life
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