This is a review by Randy L Harvey of the book, Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana 22nd January 1879: Minute by Minute by author Chris Peers.


** The battle of Isandlwana 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 turned their attention to a small outpost at Rorke’s Drift defended by some 150 British and Imperial troops. The British victory that followed – against remarkable odds – would go down as one of the most heroic actions of all time.

In this thrilling blow-by-blow account, illustrated with more than 50 photographs and maps, Chris Peers draws on firsthand 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. **  

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.  


Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana 22nd January 1879: Minute by Minute is a 186-page soft cover book.  Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, maps, diagrams and more. It has a 2021 copyright; the ISBN is 978-1-78438-756-3 and the size of the book is 9.2 X 6.1 inches.  


List of Maps

List of Illustrations



Prologue 1:30 a.m., 22 January 1879

Chapter 1     Before the Dawn, 22 January 1879

Chapter 2    Early Hours

Chapter 3    Late Morning


Chapter 4     High Noon

Chapter 5     Afternoon

Chapter 6     The Siege of Rorke’s Drift

Chapter 7     The Night Battle

Chapter 8     23 January

Chapter 9     The Aftermath



Sources and Suggested Reading



Author Chris Peers provides a well written and informative text detailing the fighting that took place between the British and Zulu forces at Isandlwana and Rorke’s drift on January 22, 1879.  As the title of the book states, the day is broken down into specific times and what took place on both sides of the conflict.  Please refer to the contents listing for a breakdown of the events that are covered through the book.  The text details nicely the events that took place throughout the day by both the British and the Zulu forces.  Detailed are the actions taken by both sides from regiment actions down to the actions of individuals and the successes and failures of the actions taken.  In addition to his own words, Chris Peers has provided numerous personal accounts, witness statements, quotes from key individuals involved on both sides of the conflicts.  The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.  I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be professional with their writing.  Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the battles between the British and Zulu forces at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, on January 22, 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War to their personal library will be pleased with this informative and interesting book.  


There are 30 black and white and 18 color photographs included in this book.  Chris Peers has provided several excellent color and black and white photographs for this volume which greatly helps place the reader at the various locations discussed and detailed in the book.  Being modern photographs, they are all in focus and very clear as opposed to photographs one sometimes sees in volumes that contain older period photographs which can be blurry and appear out of focus and can also be too dark or too light in appearance.  That is not the case with the provided photographs as they are all professionally done and provide excellent reference material.  


There are 8 black and white line drawing maps included in the book and they are of:

- The amaZulu and their Neighbours,1879

- The Isandlwana Area: Opening Moves

- The Isandlwana Area: Chelmsford Divides his Forces

- Isandlwana: The Trap Closes

- Isandlwana: The Last Stand

- The Isandlwana Area: The Zulus Advance on Rorke’s Drift

- Rorke’s Drift: The Battle Begins

- Rorke’s Drift: The British Second Position


Chris Peers is a leading expert on the history of ancient and medieval warfare and has written widely on the subject. He has contributed many articles to military history, wargaming and family history magazines, and his major publications include Warlords of China: 700BC-AD1662, Warrior Peoples of East Africa, Soldiers of the Dragon, The African Wars: Warriors and Soldiers of the Colonial Campaigns, Offa and the Mercian Wars: The Rise and Fall of the First Great English Kingdom, and Genghis Khan and the Mongol War Machine.

Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana 22nd January 1879: Minute by Minute is also available digitally from:



Barnes & Noble




£13.99 / US $24.95 

Greenhill Books

Casemate Publishers

This book was provided to me by Casemate Publishers.  Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase.  Thank you. 



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