For five years before the Falklands War, Hugh Bicheno was one of the top British spies in Argentina. As such, he gathered hard, corroborated intelligence on Argentine intentions over the Falklands - which the British establishment then chose to ignore. The reasons behind this British decision, and its disastrous and inevitable consequences in the South Atlantic, are the main story of this book. There were three main players in the war, each of them trying to overcome their own cultural baggage. The Argentinians were riddled with guilt: after years of fighting a morally repugnant campaign against its own people, the Argentine military saw a war for the Malvinas islands as a perfect opportunity to win back their self-respect. The hands of the Americans were also bloody from the likewise dirty wars they had sponsored and abetted in Central America, involving first Argentine and later British mercenaries (and as a former mercenary in Central America, the author has first-hand knowledge of this too). For Britain, baffled by the parlous state of the country at the beginning of the 1980s, the defence of the Falklands was a gesture towards their long-gone imperial splendour. The incredible fact that they did not make a mess of it, like they had done with so much, is one of the central themes of the book.