A view from the other side, recounted with honesty and humanity,
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This review is from: Argentine Fight for the Falklands (Paperback)
Like many I came to Middlebrook's work via his 'First Day on the Somme', a book I enjoyed enormously. As someone who was working as a civilian with the British military at the time of the Falklands War, I had to read this book when I rediscovered it recently on Amazon.
This book continues the format he set there, reading as it does like a battlefield tour; each thread of the conflict's tapestry being loosened and examined but never detached from the whole.
If this gives the impression of a boring bone-dry analysis then nothing could be further from the truth. The author blends analysis with the accounts of the Argentine military in the conflict to produce a moving account of the Falklands conflict.
Nor is this some propaganda-laced account, stating that the islands should be Argentinian - such a thing would be contrary to Middlebrook's ethos.
No, we are presented with a tactically precise and detailed description of the conflict based on interviews with the protagonists in which their personalities shine through in such a way it is impossible not to empathise with them.
Indeed this appears to have happened to the author as well, as on more than one occasion he writes of how even when the book is being written (five years after the conflict) some of those taking part still hold on to false information regarding the success of Argentine attacks.
He also corrects British over-claims where necessary, but with those from the Argentine side there appears to be a sadness, almost like that of the patient friend who having explained and presented the evidence carefully can still not convince one, and slowly shakes his head.
Having been to Argentina twice since the conflict ended - and although I have never having spoken to veterans there about the war, I recognise the passion that could blind people to the evidence.
Essentially this is a portrait of two proud nations going to war as seen through the eyes of the Argentine military reminiscing more than a quarter of a century ago. I wonder how a revised edition would read, what further insights might come to life, both militarily and personally.