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The Official History
on 22 February 2014
Captain Roskill was commissioned to be the Official Historian of the Second World War. He was a retired Naval Officer and an already established naval historian. To that extent he was a safe pair of hands to which to commit the account of naval events, and, as with all historians forced to comply with the frustrating 30 year rule, was not allowed to disclose privileged information (Bletchley Park; Ultra etc.) that would have made sense to some decisions and actions that were otherwise inexplicable. As a result, this history is incomplete as later classified information throws a completely different light on several campaigns. As the straightforward official history of the time as it was then known, this is a 5 star book, and Roskill was a very good and organised historian and writes the tale well. It is not, though, the full story. So many things and so much information has emerged in the last decade that this account is now a definitive account only of what what was possible to say, admit, describe, and excuse in the period following the war. For all that, it is still an indispensible source for anyone accessing the subject.