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4.0 out of 5 stars Falklands War - The Big Brick, 21 Oct 2005
This review is from: The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume 2: War and Diplomacy: v. 2 (Whitehall Histories) (Hardcover)
At nearly 800 pages you would expect this volume to be an entirely comprehensive history of the Falklands War. In fact Volume 2 of the excellent Official History leaves out far more of the war than you might expect. Sir Lawrence Freedman is extremely thorough on the London end of the conflict as is to be expected (we find references to Mrs Thatcher correcting grammar on memos sent to her!) from unfettered access to the government archives. The coverage of the negotiation process and the workings of Whitehall is fascinating to the uninitiated. It is highly recommended to those seeking to understand just how government and foreign negotiations work.
Freedman is comprehensive in addressing many minor details that have only been addressed in passing by other authors and in stating the government line on issues such as the sinking of the Belgrano. Whilst his analysis of many issues rings true and he dismisses practically all of the conspiracy theories with gusto, there is nothing in these pages that will convince the die-hards of anything other than a cover up.
The weakness of the book is in the depiction of the war in the Falklands themselves. South Georgia is dealt with in minute detail, whereas the rest of the campaign receives a much broader brush. This, Freedman himself comments in his introduction, is probably more due to constraints of space than to poor writing. I feel his remit was to tell the story from the archives rather than the people, which he rightly assumes is more than covered by other authors.
Again the narrative through the complex issues of negotiation and policy making is very strong, making the book extremely readable. There aren't many surprises or revelations to be had, but overall this book is a must have.
The cost of both volumes is somewhat severe, but hopefully they will be popular enough to make a revised, expanded edition possible so that the author can make this the complete, authoritative work on the subject.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The unnecessary and unbelievable Falklands War, 31 July 2013
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This is a serious and extremely interesting history of the Falklands struggle of 1982. It is particularly fascinating in its detailed account of the lead up to the war. It would be of interest to anybody who is studying this extraordinary war of six weeks which was a throw back to the type of battles of the First World War
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, along with Volume 1 essential reading for anybody with an interest in the Falklands conflict, 12 July 2013
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This review is from: The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume 2: War and Diplomacy: v. 2 (Whitehall Histories) (Hardcover)
Taken together the two volumes of the official history can be considered required reading for anybody with a real interest in the history of the Falklands conflict. Volume two is the weightier of the two volumes and will be the volume that many will go straight to given that it is this volume which recounts the events of the military conflict. As another reviewer has commented on, the book is stronger on the diplomatic and Whitehall side of the conflict than the boots on the ground fighting aspects which given the authors background is not surprising. As with many great works the book challenges many preconceptions (such as the role of France, those of us alive in 1982 will no doubt remember the generally negative media comments on French actions and policy, negative comments that this book shows were very unfair) and will bring many fresh insights to events which have already been reported in detail. Although not cheap, this book along with its companion volume 1 are an essential purchase and those who swallow the cost will not be disappointed.
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