Book Review
The Fall of Rorke’s Drift
The Fall of Rorke’s Drift - An Alternate History of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
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by: Fay Baker [ AWESOME_ODP ]


I am sure that most people have seen the feature film ‘Zulu’ that tells the story of the brave men who fought the Zulus at Rorke’s Drift and the hard earned Victoria Cross’s those men deserved. But have you ever stopped and wondered what would have happened if the British soldiers had lost the battle? This book may answer some of your questions…

The following is taken from the Pen and Sword website:

John Laband has long been the accepted authority on Anglo-Zulu War studies and his new work, The Fall of Rorke’s Drift, is proof of his expertise.' - Dr Adrian Greaves

The defence of Rorke’s Drift inspired Victorian Britain and has featured in a classic movie and numerous historical works – it is still remembered as an iconic British triumph in adversity. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the successful defenders.

But what if the Zulus had defeated the British at Rorke’s Drift? Would the Zulus have gone on to invade and devastate Natal? How would Britain’s other potential adversaries in the region, the Boers, have reacted, and with what effects on the future history of the British Empire and of southern Africa?

In this first ever alternate history of the Anglo-Zulu War, Professor John Laband asks – and answers – just these questions. Drawing on his vast knowledge of the period, he turns history on its head and offers a tantalizing glimpse of a very different outcome, weaving a compelling narrative story of what could have been.


This hard back book is written by John Laband, with a forward by Ian Knight. Priced at £19.99 (this may be cheaper from the Pen and Sword website), the book contains 240 pages of good quality paper with a black and white photographic section showing photographs of some of the main players, and drawings from the time.

The contents of the book are as follows:
List of Maps and Plates
Forward by Ian Knight
Author’s Note
Part 1 - Preparing for War: The British
Chapter 1 Priming the Engine of War
Chapter 2 Mustering the Troops
Chapter 3 Planning the Invasion
Part 2 - Preparing for War: The AmaZulu
Chapter 4 Resolving to Resist
Chapter 5 The Zulu Way of War
Chapter 6 Mustering for a Defensive Campaign
Part 3 - Repulsing the British Invasion
Chapter 7 The Enemy has taken Our Camp
Chapter 8 Camped among the Bodies
Chapter 9 We Seemed Very Few
Chapter 10 Falling Back to Natal
Part 4 - Defence of the Natal and Transvaal Borders
Chapter 11 Thrown Open to Zulu Invasion
Chapter 12 Securing the Ncome Border against Invasion
Chapter 13 Agitation in the Transvaal against British Rule
Chapter 14 Securing the Thukela Frontier against Invasion
Chapter 15 Stalemate along the Borders
Part 5 - Revolts and Reinforcements
Chapter 16 Fresh Threats to British Security
Chapter 17 The Transvaal Rebellion
Chapter 18 Anxious to Conclude an Honourable Peace
Part 6 - Battle and Negotiation
Chapter 19 Planning for the Zulu Offensive
Chapter 20 Wood’s Fortified Laager
Chapter 21 The Battle of Koppie Allein
Chapter 22 The Transvaal Regains its Independence
Chapter 23 Making Peace with the Zulu Kingdom
Notes, Select Bibliography, Acknowledgements, Index

This publication is approaching the battle at Rorke’s Drift from the perspective of the Zulus winning the battle. The alternate history is written in a compelling style, and is the first ‘what if’ telling of this portion of the Anglo-Zulu War. South Africa was a big part of the British Empire and generated a great deal of money for the country. The British did not exactly make friends and influence people during this period of history and while not especially in South Africa; this title provides the reader with an insight into how much of history could have been changed if the Zulu Warriors, who were an incredible fighting force had turned the tide.


I am very traditional observer of history, and prefer my book to be factual rather than ‘what if’. That being said this book gives a insight into the scenario of what could have been.
Fay Baker takes a look at an alternate history of Rorke's Drift from Pen and Sword titled 'The Fall of Rorke’s Drift - An Alternate History of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879'
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781784383732
  Suggested Retail: £19.99
  PUBLISHED: Nov 28, 2019
  NATIONALITY: South Africa

About Fay Baker (Awesome_ODP)

Copyright ©2021 text by Fay Baker [ AWESOME_ODP ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.