A Handful of Heroes, Rorke’s Drift, Facts, Myths and Legends

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift is a Victorian story from the race for Empire. This new book provides a thoroughly researched study that questions the many myths and distortions that have grown up. Strongly Recommended.


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NAME: A Handful of Heroes, Rorke's Drift, Facts, Myths and Legends
FILE: R2390
AUTHOR:  Katie Stossel
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  201
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Zulu Wars, Rorke's Drift Mission, Zulu Impi, defensive 
position, heavy odds, Isandalwana, South Africa, race to Empire, 
colonial expansion
ISBN: 1-47382-822-8
IMAGE: B2390.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zhekozc
LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale 
DESCRIPTION: The Battle of Rorke's Drift is a Victorian story from 
the race for Empire. This new book provides a thoroughly researched 
study that questions the many myths and distortions that have grown up. 
Strongly Recommended.

The story of Rorke's Drift is one of a number of Victorian 'successes' 
that were used as propaganda to hide a story of greater failure. 
Another was the ride of Surgeon Major William Bryden to give news of 
the Massacre at the Khyber Pass. It was by any standards an heroic 
ride that demonstrated great personal bravery in the face of the enemy 
that would have justified the award of the Victoria Cross, had that award 
already been available. It did, as a propaganda story, divert attention 
away from the disastrous campaign by the Army of the Indus as it marched 
into Afghanistan on a poorly planned mission and with diplomats who were 
hopelessly unsuitable.
Rorke's Drift was also an event where a truly heroic defence, against 
what should have been overwhelming odds, deserved the recognition the 
soldiers received in the award of numerous Victoria Crosses. Again, the 
propaganda use of the action was employed to divert attention from the 
calamitous use of an army to invade Zulu territory. As with the Army of 
the Indus, the expedition army advanced without adequate or reliable 
intelligence, was poorly commanded, and was consequently destroyed.

The Zulu nation was a military society where its Impi were well trained 
and used capture equipment that increased its power. An Impi was able to 
advance at great speed, running for hours, and still able to fight 
effectively at the end of the run. The Zulus were fighting on their 
territory and knew the ground very well. That enabled them to catch the 
expeditionary army unprepared and unable to mount a capable defence. In 
the action, the Zulus over ran the British army and then hunted down those 
fleeing survivors, almost to a man.

Moving on to the crossing at Rorke's Drift Mission, the Zulus could have 
expected to swiftly over run the small garrison. As history records, that 
was not to be the case. The small British force fought with tenacity 
against a vastly more numerous Zulu force and the Zulus were given no 
choice but to withdraw.

The author has looked beyond the propaganda text that was produced for 
public consumption at home, without in any way detracting from the immense 
courage of the British soldiers defending the Mission. It is still a 
stirring story and perhaps the more so because even with the 'spin' removed 
the courage remains. In fact, it emerges stronger.

Those readers who only know the story from the film “Zulu”, there will be 
surprises but then movies are meant to entertain rather than to teach 
researched history.

This book provides a credible study that looks in detail at the facts behind 
the myths and does justice both to the soldiers who fought at Rorke's Drift 
and to the Zulu Impi.