Facing the Bear.

Facing the Bear.

Trevor Royle
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
On the face of it I did not know what to expect from this book, with little thought I assumed that it would be a history of the nuclear submarine bases and perhaps Lossiemouth and a few other air bases. Nothing could be further from the truth. The author Trevor Royle has produced a prodigious examination of the pivotal role of Scotland and the Scottish themselves in the Cold War. In doing so he not only educated me in the Country's history but also in other many other aspects of the period to which I had been completely ignorant.

Covering from the immediate post war history to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the book is a staggering piece of research from the broad brush of British Nuclear policy to individual acts of heroism and note by Scots throughout the time. Most people are aware of the Nuclear Submarine base at Faslane home of the UK's Trident armed nuclear submarines, but how this was selected and how Britain came to rely on submarine based missiles as its primary deterrent is all explained in great detail. What may not be quite so obvious are the hundreds of other establishments both small and large spread throughout Scotland, from language schools, munition dumps, to radar and listening posts.

By its very geographical location Scotland was in the frontline of British and NATO efforts to prepare for the anticipated onslaught of the Warsaw Pact Forces under Soviet control. I remember stories of Russian submarines probing the coastline and who can forget endless photographs of Tu95 Bear aircraft being intercepted by various aircraft often from Scottish air bases. I’d recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the Cold War whether they are Scottish or not, the book's scope while based around that Country and its people has a much broader scope and relevance.

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