Rorkes Drift - The True Story

Rorkes Drift - The True Story


  • Author: Ian Knight
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books
  • Publish Date: 01/12/2007

Review By : (unknown)

       This is Ian Knight’s magnum opus on the battle of Rorke’s Drift, long awaited and – by his own admission – long delayed. Rather than revisiting his old works on the subject, Ian has gone back to primary sources, and tells the story again afresh. He has placed great emphasis on the role of the Mzinyathi River border as a frontier zone, in which the crossing at Rorke’s Drift served to focus the conflicts surrounding the Zulu kingdom long before the war of 1879, and for which the bloody struggle for the mission station in January 1879 was but the climax of wider political, economic and even ideological struggles.

 He explores the lonely and often frustrated lives of the frontier settlers – of James Rorke and Otto Witt – before describing the passage of troops in 1879, culminating in an exhaustively detailed account of the battle itself. As usual with Ian’s work, many myths are challenged along the way, from the quirky design of the hospital building to the true intentions of the Zulu army, and the real reasons why the award of so many Victoria Crosses was greeted at the time with cynicism.

Tuesday 17th of January 2006 05:47:43 PM