A Damn Close-Run Thing: A Brief History of the Falklands War
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What is your book about?
In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory that Argentina had a long-standing claim to. Britain responded by sending a naval task force to re-take the islands. The book is a short history of the war, the events leading up to it, and the aftermath. The title comes from Major-General Sir John Jeremy Moore, who said that the war was “a damn close-run thing.”
I’ve also written books about Soviet armoured vehicles of the Cold War, modern U.S. Army vehicles and equipment, and WWI Austro-Hungarian warships.
What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve long had the impression that many Brits thought that the outcome of the war was a foregone conclusion, and that the Argentines weren’t a strong enemy. I feel that any suggestion that the Argentines didn’t put up a hard fight is an insult to the hundreds of men who lost their lives in the war. I wanted to write something that would show that the outcome of the war could easily have been very different.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
I’ve been interested in military history for as long as I can remember. I wrote articles for magazines for some years, but never gave any thought to writing books. At some point, around 2011, I decided that I wanted to see if I could write a book. I found that I enjoyed it, and so I’ve continued to write since.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Research. The National Archives in the UK is a wonderful place. Being able to touch the actual documents, and reading what was written, is incredible. Every now and then I’ll find something new, something that hasn’t been mentioned in previous books about whatever I’m researching at the time, and there is a real thrill in that.
It also gives me an excellent excuse to visit great museums like Bovington Tank Museum. Their collection includes over 300 armoured vehicles, and they have the world’s only running Tiger tank. Being able to visit such an amazing place and call it work is wonderful.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
The first book I read after buying a Kindle was The Losing Role by Steve Anderson. It’s self-published, and an excellent book. That was the book that made me realise self-publishing was feasible, and that realisation was what started me on the path to writing a book.
Less direct inspiration came from authors like Steven Zaloga, Cornelius Ryan, and Max Hastings. They all fuelled my interest in the subject, and without that interest, I wouldn’t be writing my books.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
Despite, or more probably because of, my deep interest in warfare and military history, I’m very anti-war. I can’t say that I don’t believe there is ever a justification for going to war, and I have a great deal of respect for those who fight. I just wish they never had to.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently editing my next book, about the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
If anyone reading this is considering publishing, I would encourage them to investigate the options, then get on with it. Don’t rush into it, but equally, keep moving forward towards publishing.