Steve's Reviews > The Battle for the Falklands

The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings
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's review
Jan 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: history
Read in January, 2012

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.

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