"Must be read by all our military people and anyone who wants to find out what really happened on the Falkland Islands." James M. Gavin
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)
Meet the Author
Max Hastings, a military historian and journalist, covered the Falklands war for the London Evening Standard.
Simon Jenkins is the political editor of the Economist.
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I had just vague knowledge and recall of what the Falklands War was all about before reading this book by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins. I think the authors did a fine job in providing a history on the conflict using what information they could obtain at the time (information from Argentina was, understandably, not easy to find). They did a good job balancing the reasons leading to the war and, finally, its conduct and after effects on all three nations (Argentina, England and the Falklands). The book was published in 1983 but is still worth reading and will provide some interesting insights into this little know conflict.
The book is a good one in comparisson with other publications. Like most war correspondants these also fall in some sort of unfair critisim on the defeated without taking in consideration any merit on the argentinean side and depicts the british as totally heroes. Anyway it will give a british stand point of the Malvinas / Falklands war. You can read it.
Hastings and Jenkins provide two very different, yet vivid and important realities of the history of the islands, the political views of the participants in the battle, and the actual campaign between Britain and Argentina for the Falklands. Most importantly for the reader, the two authors mesh their accounts perfectly with very few questions one may have going unanswered. There were numerous accounts of participant testimonies from those at home, abroad, at sea, and ashore. These accounts can best be understood by those with a strong understanding of the underlying cultures and pasts of these two rivals. These repetitive type of insights provided the missing link to what some of us in the United States never really were taught, understood, or new of the battle. The views of the participants in/around the Battle give the reader the humanity of what any other "history" book may simply forget. Hastings and Jenkins successfully provided a basic, but comprehensive style of political policy-decision making intertwined with a military operation. There was a very helpful chronology of military and political events that would become useful throughout the text along with the maps and appendices of the book. Having this as the only academic account of the Battle that I have thoroughly read, it will be interesting to continue to read others that may provide fillings to the gaps, however, this text from what I have read seems to contain the most descriptive accounts in which to compare others. A top notch text with a very interesting and dynamic approach making it an easier read than any college-style history text.
Is good this book? If we demand a professional and even relatively impartial report of the Falklands or Malvinas war, the answer is yes; the book is complete and the battles well described. But if you demand some more we must have in count several objections: the conflict about the Falklands and other minor islands is confuse and far in historic time and reasons. These islands have been claimed to be discovered and ruled by Spain, Netherlands, England and finally Argentine says they¿re a part of your country mainly by geographical proximity. Summing up about three centuries of discontinuous debate. But these three hundred years have a colossal signification in terms of human time. Only the recently past XX century has had more changes than several centuries of Middle or Stone Age. Hastings hasn¿t these facts in count: he writes his book as if these were II World or Korean War, and I think this isn¿t no more valid. Argentine was in his usual unstable political situation as critical as ¿I¿m afraid- right now-. Great Britain and her leader Thatcher was much better but also in depression if measured by European standards. The war was an scapegoat for the two leaders, Galtieri an Thatcher. But the dead, died and killed in an absurd war between men without real motive for fighting. Moreover, the author logically stress in the British point of view although with some impartiality that characterizes good professionals. Argentine was an army of conscripts untrained and badly equipped. They suffered hunger, lack of ammunition, lack of real strategy and the reject of his own leaders. The British got to war better armed and equipped but very far from his homeland. They won, but the defeat I think also rounded short.
The performance of the Ejercito Argentino (Argentine Army) was less undistinguished than would appear from Max Hastings' account. However, Max Hastings' book is a must read. Comando Conjunto Malvinas (Argentine Divisional Headquarters) has been sharply criticised for its lack of initiative and failure to carry out counterattacks during the battle for Port Stanley's hills. The truth was that 42 Commando's observation post on Wall Mountain and 3 Para's patrol base near Murrell Bridge were raided by the Argentine Special Forces (601 Commando Company and 602 Commando Company), which were tasked with capturing prisoners (on 10 June at 0200 local time a bloody skirmish took place between a platoon of 45 Commando and Argentine Commandos near Murrell River, the Royal Marines only escaping after Sergeant Jolly took out an Argentine machinegun pouring fire over their getaway route. The Argentine Special Forces claimed that at least four British were killed, but no British record can be found of that). A study of the Argentine Army point of view using Nick van der Bijl's Nine Battles to Stanley (Leo Cooper) which has only recently become available (September 1999) refutes the charge that Argentine officers and NCOs ran off at critical moments, leaving the lukewarm conscripts to fend for themeselves. Nick van der Bijl, a spanish-speaking warrant officer attached to 3 Commando Brigade, spent long hours questioning the Argentine regimental commanders. Major-General Julian Thompson, who commanded 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands War, was kind enough to write the Foreward and in addition checked all chapters before submission to the publishers.