Customer Reviews


61 Reviews
5 star:
 (43)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good account of the responsiblities of command
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...
Published on 13 May 2003 by Tim62

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars It could have been such a good book but unfortunately his many attempts to rewrite history ...
This book is difficult to review. It is, as it says, a senior officer recounting the campaign as he saw it, and it provides an interesting account of fighting a war in difficult circumstances. What spoils the book is the high level of post event rationalisation that is undertaken by the author as he almost continuously tries to get his side of the story across. It could...
Published 4 months ago by J. Archibald


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good account of the responsiblities of command, 13 May 2003
By 
Tim62 "history buff" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 27 Mar. 2010
By 
David Dearborn (Connecticut USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.

Also fascinating are the individual stories of the high number of British ships damaged or sunk, and Woodward's frustration with underperforming anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems. This was more of a close call than the world knew at the time, as he makes abundantly clear. Ultimately, his modest approach on paper belies the fact that he and his task force pulled off a truly impressive naval feat. And it's a credit to Woodward the author-analyst that 'One Hundred Days' transcends the Falklands War to give an illuminating, first-person view of campaign and tactical battle coordination. It could find a home on bookshelves of Fortune 500 executives as well as students of naval and air operations. The style is also breezy (and occasionally humorous) enough for the casual reader. I've never seen it in a U.S. store, so thanks, Amazon. [Posted US Amazon August 2000]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 (Er...Kent) - See all my reviews
(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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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 (Tarbrax, West Calder, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: One Hundred Days (Paperback)
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. But it's not all serious stuff here, by any means - there are moments of memorable humour, such as the night during an exercise when his Exocet-armed destroyer, with the help of a Peter Sellers impersonator, gets the better of the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea. There are other hilarious moments in the book, including one in the Epilogue which I won't describe here so as not to spoil it for prospective readers; suffice to say, it would almost justify a spontaneous whip-round among Amazon readers! Another remarkable, but rather less amusing, incident is revealed when the Falklands task force, while on its way south, took a Brazilian airliner for an Argentinian spy plane and came within one minute of shooting it down.

The story of the war itself contains many extracts from the author's own diary of events and, as you would expect, is told mainly from the Royal Navy's point of view. It makes for an exciting read, by turns tragic and inspiring, and offers candid insights into the preoccupations of command, the painful decisions that have to be be faced, and the inevitablility of upsetting some people some of the time. Sandy gives us clear explanations of events, as well as a real feeling for the formidable trials undergone by men and their equipment at war. The author, and his readers, feel for the sailors in 'Sheffield', 'Coventry', the frigates and in 'Belgrano' too. He pays many generous tributes to the bravery and skill of his ships' crews and commanders; he writes moving words about the dead, the injured and the defeated. Far from glorifying the hellish business of warfare, he takes a sympathetic and humane view of those servicemen who suffered mental stress and breakdown; and he pays a remarkable tribute to David Tinker, the anti-war sailor who was killed on board HMS Glamorgan.

The Admiral does, on the other hand, have some harsh words for the pathetic British anti-aircraft missile systems that wouldn't work, and for some of the politicians too - not only the jumped-up little dictators of Galtieri's ruling junta, but our own John Nott as well, the latter coming over pretty clearly as one of the worst Defence Secretaries ever. But, unlike some other writers, the author doesn't cast public aspersions on his comrades-in-arms; in fact he goes out of his way to take responsibility when things go wrong - as they often did, and especially in the case of the worst British cock-up of the war at Bluff Cove. He did, of course, agree to the plan to take two troopships into the bay to disembark the Welsh and Scots Guards at Fitzroy; but in doing so he couldn't possibly have imagined that some fool was going to defy widely accepted practice - as well as basic common sense and Major Southby-Tailyour's orders - with the brilliant idea of keeping Simon Weston and his comrades cooped up for several hours in the undefended Sir Tristram and Sir Galahad, waiting for the Argentine air force to fly in and bomb, burn and kill them. No, Admiral, that was not your fault.

Altogether this is an exciting, moving and superbly told story, and a fine job also by the Admiral's co-author Patrick Robinson. Between them, they are remarkably successful in capturing the essence of events, in bringing us an overall view tinged with sadness and an appropriate dose of philosophical reflection. Sandy's dry British humour reads well, and his informal but matter-of-fact style is never, ever condescending. He comes across as a humane and thoroughly modern commander, who understands the technology of modern warfare as well as the equally complex workings and stresses of the human mind. And, of course, he doesn't need to justify himself - he not only won a war with his task force but, to borrow his own penchant for understatement, he wrote a pretty good book about it too. So all credit to him for both of those achievements.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing account of the Falklands War., 14 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: One Hundred Days (Paperback)
This is a very well organised and clearly written 500 page account of the Falkands War. Written by the Admiral who managed the whole conflict I found it informative and very moving. His objective assessments of risk and damage to the shipping involved give an insight in to the reality of war.
Sandy Woodward was aged 50 at this time and was a very well qualified and experienced naval officer.
There are sub themes in this book which are conflicts between his concern about individual ships and their crews and the overall purpose of the Task Force. The regular failure of computer systems and missiles is reported and I felt a sense of despair. Here were very expensive systems which were no good. The effect of a few days heavy seas' salt encrustation on missiles working or not should be a warning to those that design these things. To command forces to be in a place where they would be defenceless (probably) required a great sense of duty and determination to get the job done. Other conflicts included the lack of being able to control the submarines available because London wouldn't let go of this, the vagaries of politics, and the lack of clarity over who was in command are all dealt with in a very honest and open way.
This paperback version includes three prefaces, each an update for each edition. The book is very very readable. I now plan to look for the books written by the landing Commander and the Brigadier in charge of land forces.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written & surprisingly frank accounts of the Falklands war., 8 Mar. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Written by the Taskforce commander, this is a first class account of the naval aspect of the Falklands war, giving insights in to the technicalities, politics, strategy and human side of the whole thing. He is surprisingly open and frank with both facts and opinions, some of which ignore both politcal correctness, and political expediency. The author is unashamedly a Navy man, and the story is wholly a navy one, but it is what he knows about, so it is better for all that.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minerva, 23 Oct. 2012
By 
J. E. G. Stubbington (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: One Hundred Days (Paperback)
An excellent record of events. I have been preparing a presentation for the Defence Electronics History Society about the effects of and responses to the Exocet missile threat, using a variety of source material including the Official History and the Reports of the Naval Boards of Inquiry together with a great deal of first-hand experiences from Naval staffs. I found that Admiral Woodward's book was very consistent with the generally accepted facts and provided additional details that are illuminating in areas which have been contentious. I recommend the book both as a factual narrative and an interesting insight into policy and personalities.

John Stubbington, Wg Cdr, retd.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I like that he put the chapter about the sinking of ..., 26 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: One Hundred Days (Text Only): The Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander (Kindle Edition)
This is a straight forward, honest - sometimes brutally honest - account of Admiral Woodward's time "Down South". I like that he put the chapter about the sinking of HMS Sheffield right at the beginning; it really puts the reader into the heart of the action straight away. The way he describes the attacks on the fleet are truly gripping, I just had to read page after page even though I know what happened as I remember the Falklands War as if it were yesterday.

He is also very honest about the way he judged certain members of the Task Force at the start; and is equally honest when he admits that in several cases he was wrong.

Long range communications must have been very difficult in 1982 and he describes his frustrations and the possibility of mis-communications and their obvious dangers very well indeed.

Also he tells a couple of amusing stories concerning the SAS, but I won't spoil it for those who haven't read the book yet. One thing that I will say though is that it is clear that the Admiral holds this elite regiment in the highest regard, as should all British people.

Throughout the book, the Admiral's pride in the Royal Navy and the admiration he has for the men he served with is very obvious, stating many times the courage, professionalism and dedication to duty they all showed each day when the battle was at its height.

I could go on and on extolling the virtues of this book, but instead of that, I will give just one piece of sound advice to all who are undecided on whether to purchase it. Just do it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Down to earth account of the Falklands naval warfare, 15 May 2007
By 
Mr. Dr. Brock "Dannyb007" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A very well written account by the battle group commander during the Falklands conflict. It is very down to earth which concentrates mostly on the naval warfare of the battle. It does not go into the subsequent land battle in detail as woodward was not involved much with this.

Falls short of five stars for the lack of documentation and extra bits. There is only two very simple maps and the pictures are only 'mugshots' of the commanding officers and none of the actual conflict.

Overall it gives an excellent account and a real feel for the difficulty in surface-to-air warfare.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews