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Like Wolves on the Fold (Paperback)

The Defence of Rorke's Drift

Colour Books Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Boer-Zulu War Military > Pre-WWI > Anglo-Zulu Wars P&S History > British History > Victorian History

By Col Mike Snook
Frontline Books
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 32pp. ills (8 col.); 8 maps
ISBN: 9781848325838
Published: 30th June 2010
Last Released: 3rd April 2023


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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 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.

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 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."

Collected Miscellany

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.


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.

Militaria Mart

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.

Journal of Military History

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.

Military History Online

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

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.

Publishers Weekly
Col Mike Snook

About Col Mike Snook

Colonel Mike Snook was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Wales and over the ensuing 30 years served all round the world in command, operations and intelligence appointments. He spent two thirds of his career overseas and saw extensive active service in four campaigns. He is a graduate of Leicester University, Sandhurst and the Army Staff College. Twice honoured for operational distinction, he was awarded the MBE in 2000. He spent four years as a British military adviser in South Africa and latterly was the head of the UN’s J3 Operations staff in Khartoum. A recognised authority on the military history of the Victorian era, he is the author of How Can Man Die Better: the Secrets of Isandlwana Revealed, Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke’s Drift, Into the Jaws of Death: British Military Blunders 1879-1900 and Go Strong into the Desert: The Mahdist Uprising 1881-5.

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