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The Battle for the Falklands (Pan Military Classics)

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The Falklands War was one of the strangest in British history – 28,000 men sent to fight for a tiny relic of empire 8,000 miles from home. At the time, many Britons saw it as a tragic absurdity, but the British victory confirmed the quality of British arms and boosted the political fortunes of the Conservative government. But it left a chequered aftermath; it was of no wid The Falklands War was one of the strangest in British history – 28,000 men sent to fight for a tiny relic of empire 8,000 miles from home. At the time, many Britons saw it as a tragic absurdity, but the British victory confirmed the quality of British arms and boosted the political fortunes of the Conservative government. But it left a chequered aftermath; it was of no wider significance for British interests and taught no lessons. It has since been overshadowed by the two Gulf Wars, however, its political ramifications cannot be overestimated. Max Hastings’ and Simon Jenkins’ account of the conflict is a modern classic of war reportage and the definitive book on the war. Republished as part of the Pan Military Classics series, The Battle for the Falklands is a vivid chronicle of a call to arms and a thoughtful and informed analysis of an astonishing chapter in the history of our times. ‘Skilfully woven with Simon Jenkins’ sharp political passages are Max Hastings’ wonderful dispatches’ Sunday Times


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The Falklands War was one of the strangest in British history – 28,000 men sent to fight for a tiny relic of empire 8,000 miles from home. At the time, many Britons saw it as a tragic absurdity, but the British victory confirmed the quality of British arms and boosted the political fortunes of the Conservative government. But it left a chequered aftermath; it was of no wid The Falklands War was one of the strangest in British history – 28,000 men sent to fight for a tiny relic of empire 8,000 miles from home. At the time, many Britons saw it as a tragic absurdity, but the British victory confirmed the quality of British arms and boosted the political fortunes of the Conservative government. But it left a chequered aftermath; it was of no wider significance for British interests and taught no lessons. It has since been overshadowed by the two Gulf Wars, however, its political ramifications cannot be overestimated. Max Hastings’ and Simon Jenkins’ account of the conflict is a modern classic of war reportage and the definitive book on the war. Republished as part of the Pan Military Classics series, The Battle for the Falklands is a vivid chronicle of a call to arms and a thoughtful and informed analysis of an astonishing chapter in the history of our times. ‘Skilfully woven with Simon Jenkins’ sharp political passages are Max Hastings’ wonderful dispatches’ Sunday Times

30 review for The Battle for the Falklands (Pan Military Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    My only memory of the Falklands War is of pretending that a puddle was the south Atlantic and throwing rocks at it with my dad, simulating the British attack. But I'm fascinated with this war because the matchup is so weird--it has the international appeal of a world cup match. Maybe Italy fighting Brazil would have the same level of geopolitical implausibility. And because the odds of victory were more or less even: the British were 6,000 miles from home, operating at the end of a long supply c My only memory of the Falklands War is of pretending that a puddle was the south Atlantic and throwing rocks at it with my dad, simulating the British attack. But I'm fascinated with this war because the matchup is so weird--it has the international appeal of a world cup match. Maybe Italy fighting Brazil would have the same level of geopolitical implausibility. And because the odds of victory were more or less even: the British were 6,000 miles from home, operating at the end of a long supply chain, with no land based airpower (besides a couple of Vulcan bombers operating at the extreme range of what was possible), and the Argentines had a substantial air force and navy patrolling close to home. I had no idea how long it took for the British to sail to the warzone, or how inept the American attempts to intervene diplomatically were, or how heavy the British naval losses were. I knew about the sinking of the Coventry, but the Atlantic Conveyor, the Ardent, Antelope, Sir Galahad, Sheffield? And the Argentines were incredibly well equipped: I knew they had French Super Etendards and Exocets, but they also had modern German subs and even a couple of British type 42 destroyers, which is what the British themselves were fighting with! It also became very clear why every contemporary warship is equipped with radar-aimed close-in gattling guns, which were conspicuously lacking from British ships. They were trying to bring down low flying Skyhawks and Mirage IIIs with GP machineguns and (manually aimed?) bofors cannons instead. A couple details that make it clear that you're dealing with a very British war written about from a very British viewpoint: p.188: On the passage south, the British commando force band played the 1812 Overture "with orchestration from her bofors guns, at the direction of the ship's delightfully picaresque captain". p.85: Describing the preparation for the invasion: "One of the most remarkable figures immediately summoned to duty was winkled out of a London flat where he was staying after a Cruising Club dinner. Major Ewen Southby-Tailyour was an exuberant romantic...With his white hair resembling a slight swell in mid-Atlantic, his infectious charm and enthusiasm, he was a familiar celebrity among Royal Marines. The son of a colonel commandant of the corps, he was commissioned in 1960 after Pangbourne Nautical College and Grenoble University. He boasted proudly that, in the ensuing twenty-two years, he had spent only two in an office; this had done little for his chances of promotion, but had enabled him to sail halfway around the world---he was a superb helmsman and ocean racer---speak and write Arabic, paint watercolors of seabirds, explore the wildest corners of Arabia, and, above all, to know the Falklands". That almost matches the kind of characters the British had running around in the Greek Isles capturing German generals in WWII (Patrick Leigh Fermor, e.g.). Watch some incredible footage of the amphibious landing and air attacks on the fleet from the comfort of your chair on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-_l3e...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pensom

    I vividly remember that spring morning in 1982 when my father opened the curtains with the declaration "Wake up boys — we're at war!". The Falklands was the first conflict I have any clear memory of. I can remember the crowds cheering the carriers off to sea, I can remember the talk of the awesome power of the new, untried Harrier jump jets, I remember the controversy of the exclusion zone and the infamous 'GOTCHA!' headline of the Sun newspaper. I can remember the whispered playground tales of I vividly remember that spring morning in 1982 when my father opened the curtains with the declaration "Wake up boys — we're at war!". The Falklands was the first conflict I have any clear memory of. I can remember the crowds cheering the carriers off to sea, I can remember the talk of the awesome power of the new, untried Harrier jump jets, I remember the controversy of the exclusion zone and the infamous 'GOTCHA!' headline of the Sun newspaper. I can remember the whispered playground tales of the SAS, and the stories of the Argies turning tail when they saw the flash of the Ghurka's Kukri knives — said to demand the appeasement of blood once drawn from the scabbard. So it was of great interest to me to read an account which separated the apocrypha from the truth. This book was written contemporaneously with the conflict, so it has the urgency of a first-hand report. Surprisingly, there seems to have been little else published about this most curious campaign since. And curious it certainly was. I remember my Dad telling me at the time that this would in all probability be the last colonial war Britain ever fought, and I fancy he has surely been proved right. This is a very good account of that war. Written entirely, it is true, from the British perspective, but interestingly none the less biased for that. The summation of the diplomatic case is entirely even handed — in fact if anything the authors come down narrowly on the side of the Argentinians. The main point of the book though is that this was a war that could have been so easily avoided; it's as much a tale of the failure of diplomacy as the success of arms. Of a long-running, often bitter argument, over a wind-swept cluster of rocks in the unforgiving south atlantic. The opening lines sum it up very neatly: "The Falkland Islands' misfortune has always been to be wanted more than they are loved" As recent events have shown. The conflict resolved nothing. The arguments persist, and the unloved islands remain as wanted as ever.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jesper Jorgensen

    In 82' I was preoccupied with the task of being young as well as finishing my education in the merchant navy. In those days - when at sea - the daily news were compiled and 'edited' by the radio officer and distributed on a single sheet of A4 paper pinned to the bulletin board in the mess. And to be honest, you would not find me in front of that reading it. (To the youngsters: Once upon a time the internet did not exist. Amazingly we survived to tell the tale ;-) So the 'big picture' of the state In 82' I was preoccupied with the task of being young as well as finishing my education in the merchant navy. In those days - when at sea - the daily news were compiled and 'edited' by the radio officer and distributed on a single sheet of A4 paper pinned to the bulletin board in the mess. And to be honest, you would not find me in front of that reading it. (To the youngsters: Once upon a time the internet did not exist. Amazingly we survived to tell the tale ;-) So the 'big picture' of the state of the world was not all that clear to me. To to read about the course of events in this - in many respects - strange war has been very interesting. And put more than a few things in perspective. For me this book was a very good read

  4. 4 out of 5

    John

    Excellent account published soon after the war. Told mostly from the British side by necessity, but not a flag-waving jingo kind of book. Dives pretty deeply into the domestic (British) political situation that at times was a bit hard for a Yank like me to follow.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wray

    This is a well written and persuasive book, penned shortly after the end of the war in the Falklands, and which has aged fairly well since then. I think it really helps that it was co-authored, with Simon Jenkins focussing on the political background to and aspects of the Falklands conflict, and Max Hastings focussing on the military expedition itself. It is undoubtedly written from a British perspective, but is nonetheless very balanced and does not smack of propaganda. Jenkins and Hastings ackn This is a well written and persuasive book, penned shortly after the end of the war in the Falklands, and which has aged fairly well since then. I think it really helps that it was co-authored, with Simon Jenkins focussing on the political background to and aspects of the Falklands conflict, and Max Hastings focussing on the military expedition itself. It is undoubtedly written from a British perspective, but is nonetheless very balanced and does not smack of propaganda. Jenkins and Hastings acknowledge that the question of sovereignty is somewhat ambiguous, with the islanders right to self determination the only strong argument in favour of the British claim; equally, they are critical (indeed, scathing) of the British political approach to the Falklands question in the decades preceding the Argentine invasion. With regard to politicians, they conclude simply that, "The Falklands dispute should never have led to hostilities. That it did so was the result of a series of miscalculations by both sides: by the British, that Argentina would not resort to force to assert its claim to the islands; by the Argentinians, that Britain would not go to war to regain them." The UN merely "referred the issue back to the two parties on terms which evaded the central issue of self determination." In considering the role of the Foreign Office, they scathingly conclude that, "A compromise solution settlement was never achieve because the British Foreign Office proved far more competent at negotiating with another government that with its own. Successive cabinets regarded the political price of compromise as always just too high...Diplomats failed to mobilise any constituency of political opinion for a compromise over the Falklands. Their ministers, whose responsibility they believed this to be, were never in office long enough or were never sufficiently interested to do the job for them...Diplomacy without politics is ultimately impotent." Following the invasion, a task force was hastily assembled and sent south, "The British were going to war as they had always done, in haste and some confusion but with confidence and great pride." Everyone hoped that a mere show of force would be enough, but this proved to not be the case and after a rapid re-seizure of South Georgia the British forces landed unopposed at San Carlos bay. Following that, the facts of the campaign are easily recounted: after several days of intense air attacks against British shipping, 2 Para attacked and took the settlements of Darwin and Goose Green. After that, the British advanced unopposed across West Falkland, until they approach Port Stanley. Special forces took Mount Kent, and the troop ship Sir Galahad was sunk on 8th June with large loss of life. Meanwhile, the British main force fought battles to take Mount Harriet, Two Sisters and Mount Longdon. Wireless Ridge and Mount Tumbledown fell next, after which Argentinian resistance quickly crumbled and all Argentinian forces surrendered on the 14th of June 1982. Some of the authors commentary on this is particularly noteworthy, and shows the wider relevance of and lessons to be learned from the Falklands War. Goose Green is characterised as a perfect example of a political battle. The objective was of no strategic value in terms of the campaign, but was the most convenient place to get British troops into action and demonstrate some sort of progress to the public, and the House of Commons. In the end it did result in the surrender of a significant number of Argentinian soldiers who would otherwise have formed a reserve during the advance to Port Stanley, but this wasn't to be known when the attack was ordered as it was characterised as a large scale raid. The authors comment that, "The attack on Goose Green reflected haste and underestimation of the enemy by those who set it in motion, redeemed only by the brilliant performance of 2 Para. With the possible exception of South Georgia, the battle was the one instance in the campaign of 'back-seat driving' from London. The politicians and service chiefs, deeply alarmed by the losses in San Carlos, demanded urgent action from the land force for political as well as military reasons. After the event, their reasoning and their decision my well have seemed justified. But this episode was a classic demonstration of the risks and complications which can set in when a military operation is being conducted to serve an urgent political purpose." Similarly, their analysis of the sinking of Sir Galahad provides some important insights: "The Fitzroy tragedy must be seen in the context of a campaign that generally went brilliantly well for the British. Among many calculated risks, this was one which went wrong. The view of the Royal Navy was expressed by a senior officer on Fearless that night: 'We must accept full responsibility for hazarding the landing ships at Fitzroy. We cannot accept responsibility for the fact that there was anybody still aboard Galahad when she was attacked.' The naval staff reporached themselves chiefly for failing to impress on the troops aboard Galahad the importance of disemarking rapidly after dawn...In every campaign of every significant war, mishaps incomparably more culpable and more bloody have taken place, which have passed without notice. But the Galahad episode reminded ministers and services chiefs of the hazards of fighting a war under the public glare. The difficulty of persuading the civilian public at home to accept the horrific realities of war caused Sir Robin Day to ask, in a lecture some years ago, whether in the post-Vietnam age any western democracy with a free press and television can hope to sustain national support for any war, however necessary." Their overall analysis of the conduct of the war has an overwhelmingly British perspective, but nonetheless seems solid: "The accident of history which had made the Royal Marines a specialist arctic-warfare force, trained in Norway, contributed decisively to victory in the Falklands. While Argentina's conscripts, mostly shipped from the country's arid northern region, suffered in the alien Falklands landscape, the marines possessed precisely the training and equipment to prosper in it. They won the land campaign as cheaply and as quickly as was reasonably possible with their resources. There was probably no point at which the Argentinians could have defeated them, but a less competent British force could have become bogged down in a disastrous stalemate in the mountains. This was the best outcome which the government in Buenos Aires aspired to, once the British beach-head was secure. It would be wrong to pretend that, even at Goose Green or on Mount Longdon, the enemy offered the kind of resistance that might have been expected from a better-motivated, better-trained European force. Although the Para's battle losses were severe by the standards of limited conflicts, they would have been considered very light for an action in north-west Europe in 1944. The chief enemies the British forces had to contend with were Argentine air power, supply difficulties and the weather...This was a campaign mirroring a host of others that British forces have conducted throughout their history: launched with high hopes, considerable muddle and inadequate resources; redeemed and finally carried through to victory by remarkable service efficiency, some outstanding weapons systems (which did extra duty for those that failed), and the quality and courage of the men who fought the battles by land, sea and air." The Argentinians, on the other hand, "possessed better equipment and heavier firepower than the British ashore. But their tactics, fieldcraft and motivation were lamentable. Every conversation with captured officers and men after the war emphasised that their morale and determination never recovered from the discovery that the British proposed to fight." This was a very enjoyable piece of military history, and provides a fine overview of and insights into a strange little war that is likely to be the last colonial conflict Britain is involved in.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mr Allan Goldie

    I remember the Falklands War clearly and was amazed at the logistical challenge of taking a Task Force all that way to the South Atlantic and the subsequent war that took place. I agreed that this was needed to be done and admired Prime Minister Thatcher for her leadership in doing this. This book by Max Hastings is a very accurate account of the conflict and it is well written by this author who is a great historian who also was a journalist who went to the Falklands with the Task Force. As I rea I remember the Falklands War clearly and was amazed at the logistical challenge of taking a Task Force all that way to the South Atlantic and the subsequent war that took place. I agreed that this was needed to be done and admired Prime Minister Thatcher for her leadership in doing this. This book by Max Hastings is a very accurate account of the conflict and it is well written by this author who is a great historian who also was a journalist who went to the Falklands with the Task Force. As I read this book I recognised the names of all the leaders who led the troops into Battle and during my time of reading I complemented this by reading on line more about them which built my background detail of the events. I learned so much more by reading this book and realised how close we were to being over-run by the Argentinians at Goose Green.....and of the horror of the attacks on the ships which were lost. This book for me brought out clearly the courage of the soldiers who marched across East Falkland in freezing wet conditions and fought so bravely to reach Port Stanley even in hand to hand combat. Some say why did the UK agree to go so far to defend the occupation of such a small island population.....but I never felt that in 1982 and after reading this accurate account in the Max Hastings book I know that this was a necessary action that was so well deployed and completed.....we remember and respect those who lost their lives of course during this conflict.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tariq Mahmood

    War and is just another sport. That's probably why every army encourages its soldiers to play so much sports. Governments behave exactly like kids fighting in the playground. Kids operate in gangs, complete with bullies, rebels and the righteous. Whispering, coaxing and gesturing sometimes erupt in violent fist fights which result in restructuring gangs. This particular book has been written from a very British angle. British negotiations, diplomacy, war preparations and campaign details are wel War and is just another sport. That's probably why every army encourages its soldiers to play so much sports. Governments behave exactly like kids fighting in the playground. Kids operate in gangs, complete with bullies, rebels and the righteous. Whispering, coaxing and gesturing sometimes erupt in violent fist fights which result in restructuring gangs. This particular book has been written from a very British angle. British negotiations, diplomacy, war preparations and campaign details are well documented, but there is little detail available from the Argentinian end. I found the detailed description of the actual campaign very tedious, but found the summaries very informative. I don't think the Brits will ever want to carry out any future campaigns on their own, especially against armies with similar arsenal. Future wars are going to depend much more on technology rather than machismo. I have always considered the whole affair as insignificant, before reading this book, and unfortunately the same impression is there after having read this detailed political and militaristic account of the episode.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen

    Published not long after the conclusion of what is likely to be Britain's last colonial war, despite subsequent updating Max Hastings' eyewitness accounts are beneficial but there is an over-emphasis on detail, so that the contemporaneous nature of the narrative never quite seems to convey the momentum of what was a relatively brief but tense conflict. Simon Jenkins' informed charting of the political battles between the British and Argentinian governments largely saves this extensive account an Published not long after the conclusion of what is likely to be Britain's last colonial war, despite subsequent updating Max Hastings' eyewitness accounts are beneficial but there is an over-emphasis on detail, so that the contemporaneous nature of the narrative never quite seems to convey the momentum of what was a relatively brief but tense conflict. Simon Jenkins' informed charting of the political battles between the British and Argentinian governments largely saves this extensive account and makes it likely to be authoritative.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Highton

    An excellent book, written almost contemporaneously by two fine journalists, Hastings embedded with British forces and Jenkins providing the political analysis. Published only 7 months after the war ended, 35 years later it stands as a great piece of military history. the poor communications which led to the Galahad tragedy caused me great disquiet, and the mention in the final chapter of the Queen and Royal family attending the memorial service at St.Pauls reminded me I watched them all out of An excellent book, written almost contemporaneously by two fine journalists, Hastings embedded with British forces and Jenkins providing the political analysis. Published only 7 months after the war ended, 35 years later it stands as a great piece of military history. the poor communications which led to the Galahad tragedy caused me great disquiet, and the mention in the final chapter of the Queen and Royal family attending the memorial service at St.Pauls reminded me I watched them all out of my office window in Dean Court. A moving book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul Reynolds

    Comprehensive in its historical-politico-military scope and compelling both in its treatment of the buildup and the war itself. Horrible print quality of tiny fonts on maps makes those hard to use but doesn’t spoil the overall impact. A thorough introduction, backed by first-hand reporting and many scores of interviews.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    If you’re curious about this obscure modern war then this is a useful book. However it is quite biased to the view of the colonialist perspective.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Creedy

    A superb one stop shop - thorough but well written and good pace. Key lesson: unexpected things will happen!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Urey Patrick

    This is an excellent and enjoyably readable account of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina in 1982. It is predominantly a British perspective, but the authors provide an admirable - albeit relatively limited - account of events from the Argentine perspective along the way. Although sympathetic to the British side of the conflict, they do not shirk from criticizing British mistakes and errors of decision making any more than they do regarding Argentine errors and misjudgments. This wa This is an excellent and enjoyably readable account of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina in 1982. It is predominantly a British perspective, but the authors provide an admirable - albeit relatively limited - account of events from the Argentine perspective along the way. Although sympathetic to the British side of the conflict, they do not shirk from criticizing British mistakes and errors of decision making any more than they do regarding Argentine errors and misjudgments. This was a thoroughly unnecessary and avoidable conflict that was made necessary and unavoidable by the series of political, diplomatic and strategic actions and blunders over the 17-plus years preceding actual conflict. To cite but one example on each side, the British assumed that Argentina would move through three identifiable stages of increasing confrontation as a precursor to any actual invasion - then believed that assumption was real when it was not. When the Argentines actually invaded without having engaged in ANY of the assumed prerequisite stages, the British were unprepared - militarily, diplomatically and politically. On the other hand, the Argentines convinced themselves that Britain would not react with force at all, and Britain supported that misapprehension with its own political and diplomatic missteps. There were The authors lay it out bluntly even as they narrate with admiration the daunting military challenges that the British faced and overcame - more or less successfully. And those challenges were severe - so severe that with more reflection Britain might not have even tried to retake the Falklands. She had no aircraft carriers - no air search radar - ineffective and unreliable communications - ineffective fleet air defense - insufficient air lift. It is a remarkable story of overcoming adversity and prevailing over materiel and capability limitations, horrendous weather conditions, and unforeseen weapon system deficiencies - although the inexplicable Argentine reluctance to take advantage of its own strengths and resources contributed mightily. It could have been a far more 'iffy' proposition for the British than it was had the Argentine Army and Navy shown half as much courage, determination and fighting spirit as did the Argentine air force. This is yet another lesson in the inefficiencies, ignorance and incompetence of political and diplomatic functions that over time accumulate effects that ultimately ordain violent events that need not have happened. That is a lesson that never seems to take permanent hold. In an event, this is a superb starting point for anybody interested in the Falklands War and how it precipitated.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    It is now 30 years since the Falklands War. I was in the UK at the time, as well as being in New York having dinner with an Argentinian colleague when the announcement was made of H.M.S. Sheffield being sunk. Emotional times. It was an unnecessary war (aren't they all?) caused by the failure of successive governments in the UK to deal with the problem of sovereignty. The invasion was rash, and the response (sending a "task force") rasher. But "we" (the Brits) overcame the odds and I suppose that It is now 30 years since the Falklands War. I was in the UK at the time, as well as being in New York having dinner with an Argentinian colleague when the announcement was made of H.M.S. Sheffield being sunk. Emotional times. It was an unnecessary war (aren't they all?) caused by the failure of successive governments in the UK to deal with the problem of sovereignty. The invasion was rash, and the response (sending a "task force") rasher. But "we" (the Brits) overcame the odds and I suppose that being the more war-like nation, had better discipline. The Argentinians would not back down because of machismo, and the Brits would not back down because of principle. So they fought, and after some near-defeats by the loss of ships, the Brits got ashore and fought against an unprepared and inexperienced enemy. It could have gone so wrong: If the Argentinians knew how to fuse their bombs correctly, if their navy had come out to sink the carriers with Exocets, if Harriers had not been available. The result was a victory for the UK, especially for Margaret Thatcher. It restored pride internally in Britain, but it was not a victory in the same way as at the end of WWII. I should have read this in 1983. I didn't, and I am happy I have read it now.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    An in-depth and comprehensive view of the 1982 Falklands War, almost entirely from the British perspective (and to the authors' credit, they make it clear up front they never pretended it would be anything else). By turns fascinating and disheartening. The authors congratulate the UK armed forces and the Thatcher government for their very real achievements, but also pull no punches in revealing the layers of shoddy miscommunication, bad intelligence, and plain poor diplomacy (including the stark An in-depth and comprehensive view of the 1982 Falklands War, almost entirely from the British perspective (and to the authors' credit, they make it clear up front they never pretended it would be anything else). By turns fascinating and disheartening. The authors congratulate the UK armed forces and the Thatcher government for their very real achievements, but also pull no punches in revealing the layers of shoddy miscommunication, bad intelligence, and plain poor diplomacy (including the starkly embarrassing attempted mediation of the Reagan administration) that led to the by-no-means-inevitable shooting war. An Argentinian junta rode off to war desperate to prop itself up, and Margaret Thatcher's government rode out of it eager to parlay it into electoral popularity for as long as they could. The mists of popular memory are already closing around this fight, thirty years on. It doesn't hurt to be reminded what a ramshackle, close, and at times desperate affair it was.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John

    This was the first Hastings book that I read... it was interesting at the time but, since reading other, is certainly not his best. Because of the contemporary nature of the conflict, and his role as a journalist, this book always struck me as being rather like a series of newspaper articles - and sort of.... unfinished. I am sure that the recent 25th anniversary of the conflict has meant a reprint or two... and that many copes have been sold - but there are far better narratives of the conflict. M This was the first Hastings book that I read... it was interesting at the time but, since reading other, is certainly not his best. Because of the contemporary nature of the conflict, and his role as a journalist, this book always struck me as being rather like a series of newspaper articles - and sort of.... unfinished. I am sure that the recent 25th anniversary of the conflict has meant a reprint or two... and that many copes have been sold - but there are far better narratives of the conflict. My laytest favourite is Forgotten Voices of the Falklands by Hugh McManners

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vaughn

    Audio - I enjoyed these authors telling of events that were front page news during my senior year of high school. I found one author's inclusion of himself (Hastings) as an observer in the battles (as a journalist) to bring a chuckle. Overall an interesting study of what seemed so strange then and so odd now. Audio - I enjoyed these authors telling of events that were front page news during my senior year of high school. I found one author's inclusion of himself (Hastings) as an observer in the battles (as a journalist) to bring a chuckle. Overall an interesting study of what seemed so strange then and so odd now.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    If this book is the most thorough book I have ever read on the Falklands war and on the lack of decisiveness regarding how it was fought and how it failed to resolve the longstanding sovereignty issues that have made the Falklands a particularly isolated island with a resolutely British provincial character in the remote regions of the South Atlantic without the sort of good relations with Argentina that might help it to have an easier time. This book exists squarely within the intensely self-cr If this book is the most thorough book I have ever read on the Falklands war and on the lack of decisiveness regarding how it was fought and how it failed to resolve the longstanding sovereignty issues that have made the Falklands a particularly isolated island with a resolutely British provincial character in the remote regions of the South Atlantic without the sort of good relations with Argentina that might help it to have an easier time. This book exists squarely within the intensely self-critical tradition of British military historiography, in which it discusses something that every other nation would be happy to have had as a glorious victory in the face of massive logistical challenges and does so with a relentlessly critical eye towards the failures in planning as well as intelligence on the part of the British effort. This is the sort of effort that is pointed enough that it may be considered a piece of Monday Morning Quarterbacking, although it must be said that the authors do a good job in being favorable to the common soldier, be they British or Argentine, and seek to tone down what may be a sense of irritation at the intransigence of the Falkland Islanders themselves at any move on the part of the generally clueless establishment of the British foreign ministry to sacrifice some aspect of their wishes to remain part of the United Kingdom for diplomatic advantage with Argentina. This book is between 350 and 400 pages and it is divided into seventeen chapters as well as some supplementary material. The author begins with a foreword, then a discussion of the obscurity of the Falkland islands (1), as well as the lengthy cold war between the Argentine and British government in diplomatic efforts (2) that failed to reach an acceptable position to all the parties involved. There is then a look at the gamble made by Galtieri (3), as well as the success of the initial Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands (4). This leads to the British plan to create a task force to retake the islands (5), a tragicomic effort on the part of Haig to broker a peace (6), and the initial move from Ascension to recover South Georgia (7). After this comes a discussion of the failure of diplomatic efforts to make peace (8), and the war at sea that led to losses on both sides (9). After that comes a discussion of the white paper (10) that justified the British position as well as an early successful commando operation (11). Then comes the landing at San Carlos (12), the conquest of Goose Green (13), the politics of the land war that beckoned (14), and the balanced picture of triumph and tragedy as the British advanced (15). This is followed by the successful British effort to take the mountains on the way to Darwin (16) and the aftermath of the Argentine surrender (17). The book is then rounded out by a chronology of military and political events, a glossary, appendices on the Falklands Island task force (i), Honours list (ii), the Franks report (iii), and an index. In looking at the Falklands War, there is a sense of drama that exists and then an abruptness about its end, a decisive military end even if the diplomacy is still muddled almost 40 years after the war ended. This book seeks to provide the maximum context to what goes on, which means that we have a lot of information about ineffective shuttle diplomacy and a lot of cases where the governments involved are simply not on the same page--and unlikely to get on the same page at any point unfortunately. Indeed, what this book discusses over and over again is the failure of the political systems of the UK, Argentina, and US to get their act together and act with one voice, a demonstration of the rivalry between different government agencies and different branches of the military. There are a lot of failures here for the authors to talk about, including the failures of the British to be able to deal with the missiles used by the Argentinians because they had been so focused on preparing a war against the Soviets. The author also manages plenty of criticism for the jingoistic mood of both the Argentine and British people stirred up by the press that made it impossible for anyone to climb down from the war that was developing against the will of most of the parties involved.

  19. 5 out of 5

    William Mosteller

    Argentina and Britain negotiated about the Falklands for 17 years before Argentina invaded. I wonder how long it took the US and Panama to negotiate the Canal turnover? Knowing nothing about it, I doubt that the British negotiated in good faith. During my college years, a PhD candidate in the math department entered a colloquium, shot two professors dead, and killed himself. The back story was that the department had decided the student would never get a doctorate, but nobody bothered to tell hi Argentina and Britain negotiated about the Falklands for 17 years before Argentina invaded. I wonder how long it took the US and Panama to negotiate the Canal turnover? Knowing nothing about it, I doubt that the British negotiated in good faith. During my college years, a PhD candidate in the math department entered a colloquium, shot two professors dead, and killed himself. The back story was that the department had decided the student would never get a doctorate, but nobody bothered to tell him. Sounds like a similar story. The British Navy that sent the task force to the Falklands wasn’t like the one I read about in C. S. Forester’s Hornblower series. For one thing, it’s much smaller. When things started getting hot, they sent three attack submarines to the Falklands. I wondered how many total attack subs they had, and today it appears to be around seven. Also, it’s much more specialized: Q: “How come the British ships don’t have defenses against Exoset missiles?” A: “The Russians don’t have them.” The British were very fortunate that many Argentine bombs failed to explode and that their ordnance people didn’t figure out and address the problem. Loss of life and equipment could have much more serious -- could it have changed the war’s outcome? The British Harriers -- while they scored many kills on the Argentine Mirages, it wasn’t in aerial dogfights. The Mirages’ 100 knot per hour speed advantage probably precludes that. After the Mirage completed an attack and turned for home, the Harriers would send a Sidewinder along as a fatal going away present.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Liked the book overall, a pretty good concise volume of the conflict. It’s always strange going back and reading something that you lived through yourself, and personally knew some of those who fought. Nice bit of history in the first chapter, which I enjoyed and which sort of set the scene. I do remember at time there was a lot of jingoistic and patriotic nonsense spouted and the book does engage in some of it. Undoubtedly a military success with regard ground troops but not the best performanc Liked the book overall, a pretty good concise volume of the conflict. It’s always strange going back and reading something that you lived through yourself, and personally knew some of those who fought. Nice bit of history in the first chapter, which I enjoyed and which sort of set the scene. I do remember at time there was a lot of jingoistic and patriotic nonsense spouted and the book does engage in some of it. Undoubtedly a military success with regard ground troops but not the best performance by the Navy. Both of which are covered quite well in the book albeit somewhat from only the British side. The book does drift into a journalistic prose and the paragraph concerning Max Hastings walking into the enemy controlled Capital is pure indulgence and unnecessary. What the book does convey well though is the futility of fighting for a forgotten part of the world, for the sake of empire and past glories. Politically it was a disaster and cost the taxpayer far too much at a time when the economy was struggling with unprecedented levels of unemployment.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    While the books is a great read of history in what lead up to this conflict it does lack something which is the other side. In a haste to produce a book as quickly as possible after the conflict was over, it suffers the disadvantage of being strictly from the British perspective. Other than general background stuff there is nothing from the Argentine side. Hastings does a good job of showing how the British sailed into harm's way at great disadvantage. This battle was Argentine's to lose The auth While the books is a great read of history in what lead up to this conflict it does lack something which is the other side. In a haste to produce a book as quickly as possible after the conflict was over, it suffers the disadvantage of being strictly from the British perspective. Other than general background stuff there is nothing from the Argentine side. Hastings does a good job of showing how the British sailed into harm's way at great disadvantage. This battle was Argentine's to lose The author does rely how much of a burden the barren nature of the islands placed on the British troops especially when they lost many of Chinook helicopters so much of the original planning depended on. He does not mince words in the utter devastation that the Argentine Air Force had on the British Navy. But for the lack of coordination and aggressiveness by the higher commands the British should have never made it to the islands. Overall, its a good book. Great first hand perspective.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    A solid account of the Falklands War, co-authored by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, each of whom brings their own contribution to the narrative. Jenkins concentrates on the politics of the situation, the build-up and aftermath, looking at the wider scale and the international scene. Hastings was a reporter who went to the Falklands alongside the task force so details the action on the ground. Although dry with lots of technical detail, THE BATTLE FOR THE FALKLANDS is as comprehensive an account A solid account of the Falklands War, co-authored by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, each of whom brings their own contribution to the narrative. Jenkins concentrates on the politics of the situation, the build-up and aftermath, looking at the wider scale and the international scene. Hastings was a reporter who went to the Falklands alongside the task force so details the action on the ground. Although dry with lots of technical detail, THE BATTLE FOR THE FALKLANDS is as comprehensive an account as you could wish for regarding this brief conflict. It was written almost contemporaneously with the action itself and it covers all of the right elements in just the right way. It's also remarkably even-handed, highlighting the courage and failings of both sides, explaining just what transpired and, most importantly, why it did so.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dan Carlson

    The Falklands conflict is one of those historic events largely lost to most people today. I suspect many have forgotten or never heard about it. This book is a detailed and good reminder about that war, and it was a war. I picked up the book because military aviation is my hobby and I wanted to read first-hand accounts of how the British Sea Harrier jump jet fared in combat against Argentinian jets that were arguably better for the air superiority role. The book met my desires in that respect, b The Falklands conflict is one of those historic events largely lost to most people today. I suspect many have forgotten or never heard about it. This book is a detailed and good reminder about that war, and it was a war. I picked up the book because military aviation is my hobby and I wanted to read first-hand accounts of how the British Sea Harrier jump jet fared in combat against Argentinian jets that were arguably better for the air superiority role. The book met my desires in that respect, but also gave me insight on the logistical nightmare faced by both sides in fighting at a distant location. I found the book interesting and informative, which is all I could ask from such a work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Despite being written only a short time after the war itself, this book appears to be a well-written and considered history. Sketching out the long road to the war itself and reflecting briefly on the political and strategic consequences as they appeared in 1983, the book also provides good coverage of the war itself, if only from the British perspective. Ultimately, this Anglo-centric perspective is the book's weakness. It would be fascinating to know more about how the war is and was perceived Despite being written only a short time after the war itself, this book appears to be a well-written and considered history. Sketching out the long road to the war itself and reflecting briefly on the political and strategic consequences as they appeared in 1983, the book also provides good coverage of the war itself, if only from the British perspective. Ultimately, this Anglo-centric perspective is the book's weakness. It would be fascinating to know more about how the war is and was perceived in Argentina and to hear the story of their Army, Navy and Air Force in this conflict as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Albert

    A very well written account of the liberation of the Falkland Islands which were occupied by the Argentinians. Max Hastings was present at the Falklands with the British forces. He has seen the fighting and marched with a company of 2 Para into Port Stanley. His colleague and co-writer Simon Jenkins researched the political and diplomatic "war" from London. This is the standard work on this recent piece of history. A very well written account of the liberation of the Falkland Islands which were occupied by the Argentinians. Max Hastings was present at the Falklands with the British forces. He has seen the fighting and marched with a company of 2 Para into Port Stanley. His colleague and co-writer Simon Jenkins researched the political and diplomatic "war" from London. This is the standard work on this recent piece of history.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nick Harriss

    The Falklands War was the first major world event I can remember in great detail, and a subject that I have read/watched numerous articles/documentaries on, but this is definitely the best work on the subject. Hastings was on the ground with the British forces, so it has the benefit of first hand coverage, as well as much additional investigation.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    The glorious story of war for freedom and democracy. Among the consequences, all the Falklanders and their cows can now democratically vote for their King and Lords, unlike the backward Argentinian system of clan succession to the President's throne or the Medieval system of family inherited Senatorial positions. The glorious story of war for freedom and democracy. Among the consequences, all the Falklanders and their cows can now democratically vote for their King and Lords, unlike the backward Argentinian system of clan succession to the President's throne or the Medieval system of family inherited Senatorial positions.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Durnin

    Great read Excellent account of the Falklands conflict from Hastings and Jenkins. Sets the scene of the build up to the conflict, followed by a chronological account of the war from both sides. Great book that is hard to put down. Recommended reading for students of the conflict.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Saint No Stopping Us

    Five out of ten.A complete and thorough look at the Falklands war and the causes and consequences of the conflict from a British viewpoint. From the political wranglings to the men on the front line.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kn

    Even-handed in it's criticism and pretty compelling in the story it tells. Jumps between points of view to develop a narrative. More Argentine perspective would be helpful, but understandable that there's not as much. Even-handed in it's criticism and pretty compelling in the story it tells. Jumps between points of view to develop a narrative. More Argentine perspective would be helpful, but understandable that there's not as much.

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