by Sandy Woodward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A fascinating insight into the British military mind. I almost put it down around page 50 as unrealistic–which of course, it can’t be–and then persevered. The problem for me was that the British Naval strategizing and decision making is quite different from what we Americans believe to be good military leadership. Admiral Woodward struggled over decisions, plodded to the inevitable end, worried about losing boats and helicopters over men, often had to check in with Britain to confirm–or approve–decisions, found it nearly impossible to react quickly to circumstances. The war had lots of time for organizing, rethinking, dotting t’s and crossing i’s. This is not the Israeli six-day war, nor the American 100-day ground war in Iraq. Where’s the Patton in Woodward?
Once I got beyond that, I loved it. It is a fascinating look into the British military mind. Woodward was a humane leader, constantly complemented his fellow officers, understood those sailors broken by war–held no grudge against them. He valued history and knew it in minute detail.
I read this book because it includes a description of the sinking of the cruiser, General Belgrano, the only time in history a nuclear sub has sunk a cruiser. This, like everything else, was covered in excellent detail and satisfied my need to know.
Overall, I’d say read this book with no preconceptions about what war should be and you’ll enjoy every page of it.