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One Hundred Days: The Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander [Paperback]

Admiral Sandy Woodward , Patrick Robinson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Aug 2010

The bestselling, highly-acclaimed and most famous account of the Falklands War, written by the commander of the British Task Force.

On 5 April 1982, three days after the invasion of the Falkland Islands, British armed forces were ordered to sail 8,000 miles to the South Atlantic unaware of what lay ahead of them or whether they would be committed to war with Argentina.

In these engrossing memoirs, Admiral Sandy Woodward, Task Force commander from the aircraft carrier Hermes, takes us from day one to day one hundred of the conflict; from sailing through the waters of the Atlantic with hopes of a political settlement fading, and war becoming increasingly likely, to the repulse of the Argentinian navy and the daring amphibious landing at San Carlos Water.

The war, which cost the lives of over 1,000 men, has left a legacy of many historical debates and controversies, from the sinking of ships such as HMS Coventry, HMS Sheffield and Sir Galahad, and the Argentinian cruiser, the Belgrano, to wider issues such as what was it like to command and fight a modern air and naval war, the biggest naval action since World War II?

‘One Hundred Days’ is unique as a dramatic portrayal of the world of modern naval warfare, where despite the use of sophisticated equipment and communications, the margins for human error and courage were as wide as they were in the days of Nelson.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (Reissue) edition (27 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007134673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007134670
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 423,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘One of the most gripping, convincing and realistic accounts of a naval battle ever published.’ John Keegan, Daily Telegraph

‘Perceptive, vivid, engaging.’ Guardian

‘One of the clearest and frankest accounts ever written of modern naval warfare.’ Field Marshal Lord Carver, Sunday Telegraph

From the Back Cover


With a Foreword by The Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher

"The best book about the Royal Navy at war since Monsarrat wrote 'The Cruel Sea' forty years ago"

"A first-class account of the Falklands War – thrilling as well as lucid in explaining the complicated technology that dictated its tactics; vivid in its description of what it all looked and felt like; magnanimous in its judgement of men. Best of all, it gives a wonderfully penetrating account of 'the interior workings of the mind of a battle commander'… As enlightening as it is enthralling"

"One of the clearest and frankest accounts ever written of modern naval warfare"

"Not since Lord Nelson has any senior naval commander described so frankly the loneliness of high command"
TOM POCOCK, 'The Times'

"One of the most gripping, convincing and realistic accounts of a naval battle ever published"
JOHN KEEGAN, 'Daily Telegraph'

"A compulsive narrative with a strongly human undertone"

"Perceptive, vivid and engaging"

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good account of the responsiblities of command 13 May 2003
One of the most interesting things about the book is the new foreward that Admiral Woodward has written to accompany this new edition. In it he acknowledges the communications problems that beset the British during the war, and the problems that led to with some of his opposite numbers such as Brigadier Thompson and Commander Mike Clapp (who commanded the amphibious group).
Woodward admits that during the fighting, he often wasn't aware that sometimes he had stepped on his counterparts' toes.
A better satellite communications system would certainly have helped cure some of these headaches, it seems.
What comes across is something of the loneliness of command. Wodward says he dealt with it by letting off steam in his diary -- of which there are chunks in the book.
In all a well-written account - for which the Admiral quite properly thanks Patrick Robinson, who wrote most of the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 27 Mar 2010
This fine naval autobiography takes us behind the scenes of the Falklands sea/air (not ground) war and modern battle management in general. Admiral Woodward didn't exactly know what he was sailing into back in 1982, and makes no attempt to hide his personal sense of vulnerability as Britain's first fighting admiral in high-tech warfare. In fact, the entire book is refreshingly down-to-earth. Woodward is quick to note that he was tapped for the job because he happened to be the navy's closest flotilla commander at the time (in Gibraltar)--and confides that his superiors almost replaced him with a higher-ranking officer even as he led the task force into danger. This is no stuffed-shirt memoir.
Woodward and co-author Patrick Robinson weave accounts of grand strategy and military politics through a genuinely absorbing narrative of men and machines in heavy weather, incessant tactical maneuvering, and flashes of terrifying combat. Along the way, there are plenty of 'what-if's to chew on. We learn that Woodward had to manipulate London to get HMS Conqueror to sink the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano (British subs weren't under his tactical command). He explains why the sinking was both necessary and tragic, and how Conqueror watched but spared Argentine ships coming to Belgrano's aid. He also reveals that his ships almost shot down a Brazilian airliner mistaken for a pesky Argentine recon jet; he personally gave the order to withhold fire. And Woodward's character shines through his account of ordering HMS Alacrity on a potential suicide mission to scout mines--in an exceptionally gracious mea culpa of command, he praises the captain's sterling courage while faulting his own mundane direction.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jolly good memoirs with Robinson on board 29 Jan 2008
By Kentspur VINE VOICE
It is a bit tragic to admit this, but I bought 'One Hundred Days' because the ghost writer was one Patrick Robinson, right-wing modern naval chronicler.
The influence of Woodward on Robinson - most notably in 'Nimitz Class' where whole chunks of Woodward's life are picked up and deposited in the text - was interesting to a 'fan' like me. The book itself was gripping.
The Falklands War was the only major naval engagement between the second world war and - well - now and as such has generated an awful lot of memoiring. Quite right too.
Woodward admits he's a bad-tempered control-freak - thus confirming everything anyone had ever suspected about a British Admiral at war - which is very much to his credit. His seemingly callous acceptance of risks and dangers to task force elements - like the SAS on Pebble Island - shows, graphically and chillingly, what senior command is all about.
Obviously - having recently read Mike Rossiter's 'Sink the Belgrano' - some bits have been left out, like his direct order for his staff to send a message to HMS Conqueror to sink the Argentine cruiser and his fury at their refusal (as this was beyond his remit). I think this is a bit like Alan Brooke's war diaries, originally and controversially released with the 'Age of Reason' historian Arthur Bryant in an edited form, then released after his death - a long way actually - as a warts and all and isn't-Churchill-a-drunken-pain-in-the-rear version. I don't wish him ill, but when Sandy Woodward goes to the great wardroom in the sky, I really hope that an unexpurgated version of his undoubtedly colourful Falklands diaries and letters appears.
Jolly good read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not only full of facts but readable, too! 17 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Not a hero's tale but a factbook offering an inside view of how the situation developed for the Task Force Commander. It is very readable, not only because of the honesty on human errors and technical shortcomings. This, together with healthy self-irony makes it a worthwile read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the bloke in charge 26 Oct 2012
By Stephen Midgley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Of the many books written about the Falklands war, Admiral Woodward's is surely one of the best. His account is remarkable for many reasons, one of which is the way he is able to convey the big picture of the campaign and yet at the same time bring us his own very personal viewpoint, written in a gripping and thoroughly involving manner.

There's a disarming frankness about much of his account, contrasting with some of the other written accounts by servicemen which, while excellent in many respects, can have a certain air of self-justification about them. In contrast, Sandy's self-deprecating manner and tendency to British understatement read very well. For example, he tells us some of the names he was called, both during and after the campaign, including arrogant, incompetent and cowardly - the latter mainly for taking the very obvious precaution of stationing his two aircraft carriers well to the east of the Falklands, out of range of Argentinian aircraft and missiles. He deals with some of these criticisms, in a tolerant and civilised manner, in the preface to this updated 2012 edition; and elsewhere he describes himself simply as "a bloke who found himself in charge".

Of course in reality he was much more than that. His account of his naval training and career reminded me of the excellent book "Highest Duty" by Captain Chesley Sullenberger - the pilot who landed his plane and passengers safely on the Hudson River - in the sense that, with hindsight, it becomes clear that what has gone before was a highly effective preparation for the moment when all of this knowledge and skill are to be tested to the limit, and as a result the bloke in charge is able to deliver the goods.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best way to learn about the conflict.
One Hundred Days is a well-written and sometimes too honest account of the Falkalnds conflict.

I wouldn't recommend it as the first book you read on the subject,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sam Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid and Compelling
This a very well-crafted account of the Royal Navy's Falklands Carrier Battle Group and the role it played in the liberation of the Falkland Islands in 1982. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ben Oboe
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo Zulu Admiral
An outstanding account of what it was really like down South at sea during the conflict and gives an insight into the difficulty of command both tactical and strategical. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks a chore but once you're going you can't stop.
Looks a chore but once you're going you can't stop.

When I had this hit the doorstep it looked to me like I was in for a long and drawn out read, expecting it to be a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by joe hildreth
5.0 out of 5 stars One Hundred Days
Cracking book, very informative and makes you feel the emotions keeping you reading until it's finished. Excellent read and recommended.
Published 4 months ago by shaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected senior officer's view of the War.
Very interesting view from a very senior officer on the overall handling of the Falklands war. A very good read
Published 5 months ago by S. E. MCCABE
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book!
Loved it, great read and well recommended if you want to get inside the head of a task force commander!
Published 6 months ago by Mr E C Rowe
5.0 out of 5 stars The Task Force commander's Falklands War
Superb! Over the years I have read quite a few war memoirs. This is the best written. It reads like a Hornblower novel, but, of course, it isn't that at all. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Edgar Wagner
5.0 out of 5 stars The unknown cost of senior command
This book of the - late - Admiral is in my opinion probably the best of all accounts regarding the Falklands war,as it combines cold facts along with humility of admission of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Neoklis Theodoulidis
5.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous read
A measured and fascinating personal and professional account. I would recommend it to all who followed this war. \very thorough.
Published 10 months ago by A J OGLESBY
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