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Col. Mike Snook draws on his professional expertise as a soldier and his lifelong study of military history to bring back to life the dramatic campaigns fought by the British Army between the Crimean War and the dawn of the 20th century. The first of a proposed two-volume study, the book focuses on the great battles—Isandlwana, Majuba Hill, Colenso, and Spion Kop, among them—that went badly awry for the British. In doing so, the author exposes the sometimes embarrassing causes of British defeat and offers new insights into the characters of some of Victoria's most notable military commanders. Political meddling, military incompetence, petty jealousy, and overstretched resources, all played a part in the disasters. Snook also shows British soldiers overcoming formidable logistic difficulties to bring a succession of resourceful and hardy enemies to battle from Cairo to Cape Town, Delhi to the Hindu Kush. Snook's authoritative and dramatic descriptions of colonial warfare are certain to attract generations of readers to this wide-ranging and meticulously researched history.