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.
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.