My first experience of the work of Martin Middlebrook was in 1979. I was studying the WW2 loss of HMS' Repulse and Prince of Wales at that time and came to value his book (co-written with Patrick Mahoney) on the subject so highly I still rue the day I loaned it out - never to be seen again (yes, it was replaced but it's not the same!). My point being that since that time, I have read many accounts of that particular naval loss and none have been either as accurate or as complete as that one. The same can be said of this book!
Although I missed the Falklands War (I was serving in N. Ireland at the time), I did serve in the British Army for 27 years up to 1993 and know many who were there - largely because I served with 2 Para and 3 Para a few years afterwards.
Many accounts of the Falklands War were rushed into print almost before the dust had settled on the Battlefield. Of these, some were accurate, others were not. This author, however, waited three years before producing his own carefully constructed account (published as `Operation Corporate') which proved to be so factually accurate that only a few trivial errors needed to be corrected in this up-dated version. Most importantly, in this work we find new information on; A. The 3 incidents of British Forces firing on British Forces previously omitted `for the sake of the families,' B. The work of Special Forces on the Argentinean mainland, C. The last ever Vulcan Bomber raid on Stanley Airport (and if I am reading the `Black Buck Tanker Plan' correctly - even the refuelling aircraft had to be refuelled and then refuelled again in order to provide the final refuelling for the Vulcan Bombers!) and D. The author's revised views with aid of hindsight, on several aspects of the war - especially the advances across East Falkland prior to the final series of battles.
It is fair to say that certain vital information with regards to historical events, battles, strategies and decisions - at every level, were not fully appreciated in the 1980s. This book, however, has the advantage of accessing information now available thirty years after the event - all of which is used to good effect
The author's expressed regret is the continued refusal of successive Argentine governments to allow him access to first-hand accounts from Argentinean officers and soldiers - something he is hoping to remedy in the near future. Notwithstanding such short-sightedness, this work remains an unbiased account of a remarkable War from 1982 produced by an expert historian who has the gift of turning his subject into a darn good read and I fully recommend it.
on 29 May 2013
A really good read if you want detailed backgrounds to this war. Martin Middlebrook certainly did a massive amount of research. I would have liked a bit more detail re. the Special Services involvement, but then I suppose much of that is not available officially anyway.
It brought home the horrors of war that I have never experienced, (nor do I want to) but what the troops on both sides went through was amazing. It also made me realize what courage Maggie had to say, lets go to war! The amazing Vulcan/Victor flights and the planning to put a Task Force together in such a short time. I'm also thankful that the present-day politicians weren't at the helm then, I just don't think they would have the guitar and certainly not the means to do the job.
Well worth a read.
on 6 February 2016
A first class account of the Falklands conflict, which was at the very least a testiment to the political will of Magaret Thatcher, when at its best, and to the endurance of combined British arms, at their very best. Martin Middlebrook is a fine researcher, and writer, and he presents history concisely, and accurately, and so very well. I'll be returning to this and reading it again. I recommend it.
on 9 January 2014
What makes Middlebrook's account of the Falklands so good, is that it even with 30 years of hindsight and further information released by both Governments, it still remains are remarkably accurate description of events. The author clearly has a great regard for the losses incurred by both sides and writes with an even hand. Excellent book.