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Reasons in Writing: A Commando's View of the Falklands War [Paperback]

Ewen Southby-Tailyour
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 14.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 July 2003
Reasons in Writing tells Southby-Tailyour's story of the Falklands War largely through the medium of diaries and letters written during his peacetime tour of duty in the seventies and the war itself. Reasons in Writing, is unlikely to be rivalled for its immediacy, insight and deep and genuine feeling for the Islands themselves, based on experience gained (unlike any other participant civilian or service) before, during and after that fateful winter of 1982.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Leo Cooper Ltd; Reprint edition (22 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844150143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844150144
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.6 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 615,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasons in Writing 10 April 2012
By Seaweed
Format:Paperback
`Reasons in Writing' by Ewen Southby-Tailyour (Pen & Sword 1993, ppbk 2003 14.95)

S-T believes, with Ratty, that there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Although he has also served in sandy places and Northern Ireland, S-T has deliberately chosen an employment path that any career-conscious Royal Marines Officer would normally avoid, effectively specialising in Landing Craft operations. What he has to say about these is seminal, and this book should be required reading for anyone either interested in or employed in amphibious warfare. What we have here is not just an action-packed tale of the amphibious part of the Falklands War, set against all the other background events, but many details of how we got into that expensive mess.

The book opens with an eerie parallel from 1770 in which a miniscule RM garrison in the Falklands succumbed to a Spanish invasion, leading to the resignation of the British Foreign Secretary. It goes on to give a fascinating account of S-T's year in charge of NP8901, the Royal Marines piquet on the islands. S-T had the use of MV Forrest, owned by the Falklands Islands Company but on charter to the Royal Navy. As a keen yachtsman he used his trips around the islands to compile charts and sailing direction for as many of their harbours, creeks and inlets as possible. No other CO of NP8901 had done anything like that before; the driver was future recreation rather than defence but all too soon S-T's charts, photographs and notebooks were all there was to use to plan the detail of the islands recovery. S-T also made, not just contact with, but friends of the isolated `kelpers` in the various outlying settlements.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 6 April 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased the book as I had been on one of the landing crafts when the Scots Guards had an overnight cold shower for a number of hours, described in the book. The author has strong opinions and is not PC, but gives an honest description of his experiences.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frank Account 18 Feb 2008
By Goodman
Format:Paperback
Reasons in Writing is an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary man.
Many books have been written about the battle to regain the Falkland Islands following the Argentinean invasion in 1982. Ewen Southby-Tailyour had a unique perspective. During the conflict his military role was that of amphibious warfare; leading landing craft ashore in San Carlos and Bluff Cove. Of equal importance was his part as an expert adviser to the task force planners on the suitability of beaches and sea passages. His knowledge of the littoral waters around the islands was gleaned whilst he was in charge of the Royal Marine detachment prior to the outbreak of hostilities.
Reasons in Writing covers Ewen's time on the Falkands before and during the war in great detail. His love of the service, sea, yachting and wildlife are apparent. Written a decade after the conflict the author makes use of his detailed diary to accurately tell the story from his point of view as well as bringing in accounts from other writers on the war.
One of the most tragic episodes in the Falklands War was the attack on the Sir Galahad ship which cost the lives of dozens of Welsh Guardsmen when it was attacked at anchor in Bluff Cove by Argentinean Skyhawk aircraft on 8th June 1982. Ewen explains frankly the events which led to this disaster. Since the conflict blame has attempted to be apportioned by some in the media. Reading Ewen's account you will be able to form your own conclusion.
Reasons in Writing is a compelling and fascinating book written in a no-nonsense style which may be a little uncomfortable for some "top brass" readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man's Time Came 19 Aug 2011
By Renzo
Format:Paperback
An excellent, concise account of a brutal little war largely forgotten about.

The Author is a Career Soldier, and product of a 'Military Family' and educated accordingly (long time since I read it, but included University of Grenoble I recall). He was then processed by the Green Machine of the UK Forces. But perhaps more importantly, retained his personal interest in small boat sailing.

What appeared to be a chance (and deliberate) 'bad posting' by a higher rank "Desk Driver" placed the Author in The Falklands - well before the conflict.

A thoughtful and precise man, he followed his hobby sailing and charting the waters around the islands including a wealth of data on harbours inlets and possible landing spots.

Then it happened, and his efforts helped Britain.

It is amazing to realise now that it is almost thirty years since this war. The book is most enjoyable, and I am sorry I sent mine to the charity shop.

Somewhere it contains part of a haunting poem 'The Dead Marine' (no not the hundreds of schmaltzee web ones - this is a well written one about British Royal Marines going back Centuries). Let me know if you find it or the author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasons in Writing 8 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Southby-Tailyour should be remembered as the Royal Marine who charted the waters around the Falkland Islands before the Argentinian invasion, for which he was elected 'Yachtsman of the Year'.
His force of Commandos was required to 'buy three weeks bargaining time in the United Nations' following any invasion. Luckily, he decided to carry out reconnaissance missions on beaches and coves for covert landings.
In the course of his tour on the Islands, it became obvious that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence were at odds and how these contradictions became an extra factor in leading Argentinians to believe that they would be able to invade without interference from Britain.
Anyone who enjoys military history should read this book.
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