BOOKS: Falklands Up Close; the Official History of the Falklands Campaign - Vol 1: The Origins of the Falklands War Pounds 39.95; Vol 2: War and Diplomacy Pounds 49.95 by Lawrence Freedman, Routledge/Taylor and France, and Whitehall History Publishing
Byline: Reviewed by Neil Connor
The Falklands War was viewed as something of an oddity to the prevailing trend of conflicts within the context of the Cold War.
There was no emphasis on technology. The fighting was up-front and close and the armed hostilities were miles away from home in response to a provocation which sent shockwaves through the political establishment.
However, the conflict did not come out of the blue.
There was much going on behind the scenes before an apparently trivial incident which involved a group of Argentinian scrap metal merchants landing on the island of South Georgia in March 1982 turned into a major crisis.
But the Falklands episode provides an indicator of how hostilities beyond the Cold War would take place and this is what makes Sir Laurence Freedman's The Official History of the Falklands Campaign such indispensable reading.
The historical and diplomatic roots of the war are discussed in detail in the first volume of Freedman's work.
From the first Argentine claims on the Islands, to the negotiations between the British Government and the Junta and the announcement of the British withdrawal of HMS Endurance, Freedman gives a fair, balanced appraisal of events on both sides.
Drawing on a vast range of Government archives, he darts with utmost clarity from each stalemate to each diplomatic crisis.
He charts all the major personalities involved and the input of the UN and the United States as the invasion approaches.
The second volume is more than twice the size of 'the origins', but thanks to the clear division between sections and sub-sections, which are sometimes only a couple of pages long, Freedman retains the interest of the reader with ease. …