Iron Duke Miniatures

Iron Duke Miniatures

'Hard pounding, gentlemen!'

                                               Author's Page
                                          Books by Colonel Mike Snook

In addition to running IDM in his downtime, Mike is a professionally qualified academic and a recognized subject matter expert on nineteenth century colonial warfare. He is an Honorary Academic Adviser to the Victorian Wars Forum (VWF), a leading online resource in the field of Victorian military history. Here are the details of his published works to date, with links to online shopping facilities in both UK and USA.  Note that Go Strong into the Desert and the two-volume Cape Warriors, specially commissioned works, are only available from one source, the details of which appear further down the page.  Scroll down to see a short synopsis of each of the books pictured below. 

You can shop for Mike's books at these Amazon links:

UK Author's Page at

USA Author's Page at

Colonel Mike Snook MBE PhD BA (Hons) psc
'The fun part is the fieldwork: the writing bit is nothing more than a form of self-inflicted torture.' 
In this case the field in question is the Battle of Berea, (20 Dec 1852): a hot day in Lesotho, March 2015.

At the British Army monument at Quatre Bras crossroads, just south of Waterloo, 
during the bicentennial commemoration of the battle in June 2015. 

Beyond the Reach of Empire (2013) is the leading modern account of the Gordon Relief Expedition and is derived from the author's doctoral thesis. It contains an unrivaled military analysis of the planning and conduct of the expedition and seeks to identify the reasons why Lord Wolseley's plan of campaign miscarried - more badly, indeed, than is commonly recognized. The scapegoating of Colonel Sir Charles Wilson, who led the final steamer dash to Khartoum, is also dissected in detail. There are comprehensive accounts of the Battles of Abu Klea and Abu Kru, based on fieldwork conducted in the Bayuda Desert when the author was serving as Chief J3 Ops with the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). 

Into the Jaws of Death is a review of the dramatic occasions on which things went seriously awry for Queen Victoria's soldiers. It contains comprehensive accounts of the Battles of Maiwand, Laing's Nek, Ingogo, Abu Klea, Majuba Hill, Colenso and Spion Kop.  It then goes on to identify the commonplace causes of British military failure during the high-Victorian period. The chapter on Maiwand is commonly received by Anglo-Afghan War enthusiasts to be the best published account of the battle. Each chapter is supported by mapping and orders of battle. 

Like Wolves on the Fold is a narrative account and military analysis of the British Army's most renowned small action - the last ditch Defence of Rorke's Drift, in the course of which an unparalleled 11 Victoria Crosses were earned. LWOTF stands alone, but is best read after finishing How Can Man Die Better (see below). Rorke's Drift...say no more. Here you will find the most improbable British military victory rationally accounted for.

How Can Man Die Better adopts a philosophically constructionist approach to dissect one of the most notable military disasters to befall the Victorian military. The Battle of Isandlwana, fought in Zululand on 22 Jan 1879, was the only occasion in the history of the British Army in which a regular army battalion was literally annihilated in an afternoon. HCMDB proceeds through the early phases of the battle like any other narrative, but then, unlike any other work in its field, seeks to reconstruct the unknown final hour, the desperate last stand of the 24th Regiment and others. This it does by means of carefully contemplated ground study and military analysis. The reconstruction is determinedly anchored on the sourced facts, but also strives to fill in the gaps in our knowledge with reasoned hypothesis. It is commonly held that the reconstruction offered in HCMDB does indeed hold water and that the book embraces many instructive observations and insights not to be encountered elsewhere.  Like Wolves on the Fold, which addresses the Defence of Rorke's Drift later  the same day, was expressly written to follow on from HCMDB and, indeed, returns to the subject of Isandlwana in its third and final part, in order to address the issue of culpability. 

Go Strong into the Desert and the new two-volume work Cape Warriors are only available through Perry Miniatures here:
Volume I of Cape Warriors will be launched at Excel in London on 16 April 2016, while Volume II will follow within a few weeks of that.

Go Strong into the Desert is a profusely illustrated military history of the Mahdist Rebellion (1881-5) in Sudan. Though the approach is that of a conventional work of popular military history, most gamers consider GSITD to be the 'one stop' reference work for the conflict. The book contains accounts of the Siege of Khartoum and of all the major general actions of the period: Shaikan (known as the 'Hicks Disaster'), 1st and 2nd El Teb, Tamai, Abu Klea, Abu Kru, Kirbekan, Hasheen, Tofrek and Ginnis. Each such account is supported by a detailed order of battle and mapping. There are more than 40 colour plates of typical combatants and troop types, be they British, Egyptian, Sudanese loyalist or Sudanese Mahdist. 

Between 1834 and 1853 a number of seismic conflicts occurred on the expanding frontiers of Cape Colony, wars that ultimately were to shape the destiny of South Africa down to 1994. In December 1834, not entirely without provocation, Chief Maqoma launched a large scale Xhosa invasion of the settled districts of the Eastern Cape, burning out Boer and Briton alike. Although British regulars and boer commandos, soldiering in combination, were eventually able to turn the tide of invasion and win the war, the liberal interest in London ham-fistedly and wrongly insisted that it had been provoked solely by the settler interest, with the result that a significant slice of the boer population became profoundly alienated from British liberal precepts. In an episode known in history as the ‘Great Trek’ several thousand ‘Dutch’ subjects of the Crown packed their possessions into ox-wagons and set off into the African interior, intent, ultimately, on establishing autonomous republics in which the white farmer’s best interests would reign supreme. On both the high veldt across the Vaal and on the far side of the Drakensberg in Natal, trekker advance parties were attacked by the African indigenes in their path, triggering the Boer-Ndebele War of 1836-7 and the Boer-Zulu War of 1838-40. Concerned by what was perceived to be unnecessary strife with the African peoples of the interior, British attempts to restrain and police the republican emigrants resulted in the Anglo-Boer clashes of 1842 (Siege of Port Natal), 1845 (the Philippolis Intervention) and 1848 (the republican rebellion in the Orange River Sovereignty), setting the seal on mutual and long enduring Anglo-Boer antipathy. In the Eastern Cape there were renewed bouts of Anglo-Xhosa hostilities between 1846-7 (the 7th Cape Frontier War) and 1850-53 (the 8th Cape Frontier War). Although Anglo-Colonial forces were to triumph in the end, Xhosa resistance was brave, protracted and in many ways innovative, resulting in a gruelling mode of African warfare far removed from the European or Indian experience of the colony’s British military governors. In Volume I of Cape Warriors the author, a noted authority on nineteenth century colonial warfare, examines the military dimensions of this turbulent period and describes the various types of fighting men who made war for the destiny of South Africa. Featuring 41 new uniform plates by Michael and Alan Perry and the contemporaneous art of such noted figures as Thomas Baines, Charles Davidson Bell, Major Charles Michell, Captain Thomas Lucas and Lieutenant Hugh Robinson, Cape Warriors Volume I pays an unprecedented amount of attention to the visual dimension of South Africa’s frontier wars.

In Volume II of Cape Warriors the author turns his attention to combat and the tactical conduct of operations on the South African frontier, addressing some of the most notable general actions of the period. The battles addressed share the common bond that the British Army was in all cases one of the antagonists, but on the other side of the battlefield are variously republican boere, Xhosa warriors or mixed-race ‘Hottentot’ rebels, each of which, in their uniquely different ways, presented nineteenth century regulars with a testing military challenge that was not lightly or easily overcome. For all that the names of the battles addressed by the book are not entirely unknown, what actually took place has conventionally been glossed over or addressed only at a superficial level. As a result a number of important military engagements command no substantive place in the annals of the British Army or for that matter wider military history. They have, in short, been all but forgotten. By dint of the author’s extensive archival research and field work on the battlefields themselves, the engagements at issue have at last been reconstructed in considerable detail. Amongst other dramatic events we learn of the Battles of Congella, Durban Bay, Burnshill, Trompetter’s Drift, Committee’s Drift, Fort Peddie, Mgwangqa River, Boomplaats, Boma Pass, Fort White, Sandile’s Kop, Fort Armstrong, Kroomie Heights, Nel’s Farm and the ‘Oldham Disaster’. All are fascinating, dramatic and uniquely different tales. Each of the ten chapters are accompanied by maps, orders of battle, annotated battlefield photography and compelling contemporaneous art drawn or painted by eyewitnesses.

                                                                Mike Snook with the Perry twins, Michael (left) and Alan (right). 
The setting is Quatre Bras crossroads during the June 2015 bicentennial commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo.  Two of the best and most prolific sculptors of wargames figures in the world, the twins commissioned Mike to write Go Strong into the Desert and Cape Warriors in support of their ranges of Sudan and Cape Frontier ranges.  The uniform plates in GSITD were painted by Michael, while those in Cape Warriors were a joint effort.

 The good old days: on exercise with South African Army recruits in the Eastern Cape. 

Mike spent 30 years in the Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot), before retiring from the service to write full time.