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Battle for the Falklands Paperback – 2010
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“Will probably endure as the standard history of the campaign.”
- New York Times
“Authoritative and very readable.”
“Stirring, impressively detailed.”
- Time --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Max Hastings, a military historian and journalist, covered the Falklands war for the London Evening Standard. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It's characterized as the last colonial war, with Great Britain mobilizing to "defend" its far flung colonies in the Falklands and South Georgia. Hastings and Jenkins go into great detail on the history of the Falkland Islands and conflicting historical claims of Argentina and Great Britain to these forlorn islands almost a stones throw away from Antarctica. There were years of diplomatic discussions about "returning" the Falklands to Argentina, but these did not result in any progress before the Argentine military junta led by Galtieri decided to reclaim the Isla Malvinas to bolster their tottering regime. That more or less forced the British to mount their expedition to retake the islands. The unprepared and sometimes poorly equipped Royal Navy and British Army were able to prevail thanks to poor logistics and spotty leadership of the Argentine forces. Nonetheless, it was sometimes a close-run thing for British units, who were often outnumbered and outgunned by the Argentines. The outnumbered, but better trained, led, and motivated British forces ended up winning.
The book was written shortly after the end of the war. Max Hastings is a journalist that accompanied the task force, and brings a level of authenticity that only a first-hand experience can give. Simon Jenkins's contribution was on the home front, detailing the cabinet and parliamentary discussions and direction of the war. That these two parts seamlessly mesh is a credit to the editor.
Even though there was little time between the end of hostilities and the release of the book, the conclusions of the authors have stood the test of time. Unfortunately, we will likely never know all the details about the Argentine side (due to the instability of the government at the time), so most of the commentary and description of events is from the point of view of the British forces. The authors are careful not to "cheerlead" the British side, and condemn both sides equally for failing to resolve the dispute peacefully.
Most importantly, the book is very easy to read, and tells an exciting story besides. The conclusions are inescapeable - the British won due to superior training, tactics, and motivation of the footsoldier on the ground. Full marks go to the Argentine Air Force for their spirited conduct during the hostilities, but air power alone cannot win a war. The authors also blame the situation on the lack of human intellegence (as opposed to signal or satellite intel) that totally missed the imminent threat to the Falklands from Argentina. They further argue for balanced armed forces because, as we rediscovered on Sept. 11, you never know what kind of threat you will face. These conclusions are applicable today, which tells for the universality and timelessness of this fine account.
Most recent customer reviews
first hand review of the politics - both UK and Argentina - and on the ground first rate picture of the batlles on land and in the air