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Through Fire and Water: HMS "Ardent" - The Forgotten Frigate of the Falklands War Paperback – 5 Apr 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Apr 2007
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; New edition edition (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845962729
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845962722
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Mark Higgitt is a forty-eight-year-old journalist who lives in South Warwickshire with his wife. They have two daughters.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I may be biased but this is a great book. Why biased? Well I'm the 23 year old Weapons Director "Richie Gough" in the book. It's a true story, well researched and written by the author Mark Higgitt.
This is the story of young men serving their country on a ship that was both happy and professional, that fought hard and valiantly to protect the troops landing onto the Falklands on the 21 May 1982 before, in the space of 22 minutes, being hit by bombs from Argentine aircraft no less than 17 times and therfore having to be abandoned to later sink in Falkland Sound. Focussing on the people that made the ship work and not the politics of the Falklands conflict the story telling is fast, informative and real. 22 lives were lost, many more of the crew were wounded both physically and emotionally. Real people from all walks of life averaging no more than 23 years old at the time of the conflict. Today, most of the crew are civilians but each year we gather in Plymouth to remember the fallen and celebrate the ship. But each year the memories of our brief encounter with the enemy keep our tales of bravery, foolhardiness and high sprits firmly to the fore. I recommend this book to Amazon readers as it is a true account of a brave ship, forgotten by the British public because of the short term memory that comes with modem media coverage. Add to this the short sightedness of the military enquiry board of the time and the name Ardent becomes only a proud memory for its survivors, friends and the families of the fallen. Read the book - you will be proud of the ship and its crew too, I promise.
Richie Gough
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By A Customer on 5 Oct. 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is a moving account of the exploits of HMS Ardent during the Falklands War of 1982. Written mainly from the points of view of the ordinary crew-members, it graphically illustrates how they were affected by the loss of their ship and their friends.
As someone who was familiar with the ship and knew some of those who died, I read this book with great anticipation and was not disappointed. If you ever wanted to find out how ordinary people deal with life-threatening situations and with the aftermath, then this book is a good place to start.
There are a few minor technical inaccuracies, but they do not detract from the narrative. My one main criticism is that there is no diagram of the ship's layout. Anyone unfamiliar with the Type 21 frigate would struggle to orientate themselves - then again, maybe that was the author's intent - to put the reader in the same position as the crew as they fought fires in compartments turned to scrap by Argentinian bombs.
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Format: Paperback
One of the reviewers of the hard cover edition of this book slates it for 'excruciating detail' and being 'unreadable'. I couldn't disagree more. This is a must-read, and I would go so far as to say that if you were to read just one book to give you an idea what going to war in the Falklands was like for our sailors, this is the one.

All too often books on war gloss over the day to day detail of warfighting, skip the build-up, concentrate on a few people to tell the whole story. Real life isn't like that - there is lots of detail, there are lots of people. A Royal Navy warship doesn't carry 200 people for the fun of it; they all have jobs, they are all necessary, and for once here is a book that tries to tell the story of a great number of them.

As a result we have a good meaty book that will provide many days of reading, rewards re-reading and gives you a real feeling for the sheer horror of what that crew went through. There are pages to make you laugh out loud, others to bring you to the brink of tears and others to make you angry - angry at the government that procured a type of ship so poorly defended, angry at the government that allowed the war to happen, and angry that so many young men did not return.

Richie Gough's review ends by saying that this book will make you proud of the ship and her crew. He is right. I am.

Notably one of the complaints about the hardcover edition - the lack of any drawing showing the ship's layout - has been dealt with by the addition of such a diagram. It is, however, at the back of the book!
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Format: Hardcover
An excellent effort to cover an emotional, personal and difficult subject for all those involved. With a short build-up to put the crew and ship in perspective, Mr Higgitt moves quickly to the meat of the story, Ardent's brief but intense involvement in the Falklands War, and gives a detailed view of a warship in action from the individual perspectives of a wide selection of her complement. Only by pulling their collective memories together does one get to see the whole picture, demonstrating the "fog of war" for each and every member of the crew.
He does a good job of putting the reader into events so they can sense at least some of the controlled (and uncontrolled) chaos as well as the perceptions and feelings of those involved. But he also reminds us that as an outsider he was only given access to those memories his subjects were willing or able to share even now. The emotional and personal costs of war are graphically demonstrated, even for those considered survivors. It is indeed a shame that no-one took the time to tell the crew what a good job they had done.
There are inevitable gaps - no doubt some crewmembers were uncontactable or did not wish to participate in this work. But, especially for those who have never served in a Type 21 or even the Navy, the most glaring is the lack of any drawings. Whilst the descriptions are good, a line drawing of the ship's interior would be immensely helpful for the lay reader to understand more clearly where people and events are located. Even if official drawings are unavailable, I'm sure that those individuals who contributed to the story could have provided sufficiently accurate drawings for inclusion in the book. Perhaps this was an editorial choice rather than an omission by the author?
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