This is a reprint by Pen & Sword of Bound’s 2002 book “Falkland Islanders at War” with new additional material recently released. . Most books to come out of the invasion of the Falkland Islands have concentrated on the military and naval side of the conflict. This book is different as it tells the story of the Islanders who had to stand by and watch events unfold and, certainly at the beginning of the affair, not knowing what the outcome would be.
- Graham Bound
The book is very scathing of the British government in the decades leading up to the invasion, especially in the years immediately prior to that event. The British Foreign Office had paid lip-service to the FI and their plight and, while denying Argentina’s claim to the islands, did very little to actually let Argentina know we were serious about keeping them British. The final straw being the withdrawal of the Arctic exploration Ship Endurance, which gave the Argentinean government the feeling that Britain was abandoning the islands.
Well, we all know what happened in the period April to June 1982, and while the book is certainly about that period it is about the Islanders and how they were treated and how they felt during the invasion and recovery stages. For instance, the Battle of Goose Green was a major event and is well covered in the book, but not by the tactics of the British nor the defence of the Argentinians but how the locals, herded together into a huge sheep-shed had to live and survive for several weeks, not knowing if a bomb would drop through the roof of the shed. The negotiations with the Argentinians and the reaction of the attack on how the civilians were treated – this is what the book is all about and it covers it brilliantly in my view.
It is very interesting to read military history from a non-military point of view; but civilians or not, the courage of the Islanders is not in doubt; ranging from the few Defence Volunteers who turned out when invaded to Islanders spread over the ground, cut off from Stanley but picking up information from their radios. The Island local radio broadcast was a God-send to the local population and used to pick up much of their information, as well the BBC World Service, although the BBC gave out possibly more than they should have at the time!
The Governor, Rex Hunt comes out of this very well, his handling of the situation, his dealings with the Argentinean commanders and his reassurance to the Islanders left them with a huge amount of respect from the Islanders.
This book is about a population in an enemy occupied territory and their plight. As such it must be an important addition to anyone interested in the Falklands conflict. Bound himself was very active as part of the “Resistance” which enabled him to put together such a comprehensive book. He is scrupulously fair in is reporting and has much to say about some of the very kind and cooperative Argentinians who did their best to help the Islanders under very difficult circumstances, this book is in no way a witch hunt post conflict.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this; I had not read the original, but I believe this edition has been updated using information not previously available but released by the government under the various age rules.
I enjoyed the book, it is very worthwhile and the loyalty to Britain of the Islanders shows through in all parts of the book and makes it more understandable why Britain should have sent a taskforce thousands of miles from one end of the Atlantic to the other to retake the Islands in the name of the Queen.
4/5 Mr Mushroomheads for a welcome addition to the FI conflict library.