Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana (Hardback)
22nd January 1879: Minute by Minute
The Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 was one of the most dramatic episodes in military history. In the morning, 20,000 Zulus overwhelmed the British invading force in one of the greatest disasters ever to befall a British army.
Later the same day, a Zulu force of around 3,000 warriors turned their attention to a small outpost at Rorke’s Drift defended by around 150 British and Imperial troops. The British victory that ensued – against remarkable odds – would go down as one of the most heroic actions of all time.
In this thrilling blow-by-blow account, Chris Peers draws on first-hand testimonies from both sides to piece together the course of the battles as they unfolded. Along the way, he exposes many of the Victorian myths to reveal great acts of bravery as well as cases of cowardice and incompetence. A brief analysis of the aftermath of the battle and notes on the later careers of the key participants completes this gripping exposé of this legendary encounter.
The story of the defence of Rorke's Drift has long been a favourite of mine in the annals of British military history, and the film ZULU, with Stanley Baker and Michael Caine, is one of the finest historical action movies of all time. Chris Peers's book is a mine of information about the small band of men, who stepped up to the mark and earned their Victoria Crosses. If you wanted to be pedantic, the subtitle should say "selected minute by selected minute", because it isn't a continuous narrative, but the you have to accept that they are accurate timings because of their providence. This is a valuable addition to the literature of Rorke's Drift, and I have no hesitation in selecting it as my nonfiction book of the month.Books Monthly
Chris Peers provides a superb chronological account of the disastrous British defeat at Isandlwana and the heroic defense of Rorke's Drift...contains perfectly placed maps and photographs of the terrain and buildings just when the reader needs them the most.Military History Online
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This an outstanding book which as well as being entertaining, also brings insight and clarity to the understanding of a battle which has left an enduring legacy not only for those directly involved but also for the generations that followed. Recommended without reservation.Phil Curme
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Review by Ashley HoltThe Hoplite Association
This is a fantastic idea for the study of conflicts that are often analysed in isolation from each other, but this minute by minute account allows the reader to picture the broader issues from both the British and Zulu sides. The wealth of first-hand testimonies bring to life the triumphs and tragedies that make these battles so memorable. A very useful book for a battlefield tour, for historians of these times and wargamers who seek a more accurate context.
The author has offered an excellent narrative history of the events concerning the two actions at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, bringing clarity to the sequence of events and highlighting the command decisions that produced the very different outcomes. He necessarily brings the characters of participants into question without being presumptive and overall it is a very good read supported by good maps and images.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide