I don't often buy books on Naval matters but over the years I have amassed a small number of volumes about messing about in boats- and not only by Kenneth Graham either.
I have A.T.Mahn's Influence of Sea Power Upon History - a portentous and now dated but still useful volume about warfare in the Age of Sail.plus a small collection of WW1 and WW2 naval books - probably less than 20 volumes all told. So when doing the supermarket chore the other week I was surprised to find Max Hastings' book OPERATION PEDESTAL concerning the Allied 1942 attempt to get supplies through to Malta
Now Hastings can read and write but sometimes is a bit right wing for my taste but this one is a good un. He spares no one in the story of cock up and courage occasional cowardice and sheer bloody mindedness that was the four day battle to get supplies through to beleaguered Malta - which was only a bare few weeks from starvation . Operation Pedestal has been treated as one of those British successes against adversity by the nationalist propagandists of WW2 and up to a point so it was but it was also a collection of balls ups- by both sides which turned- for the Axis a victory- which they trumpeted into a mere losing draw. Losses for the British were heavy- including a carrier sunk, an Admiral doing a runner and only 5 merchant ships actually reaching their destination. Yet it was enough. Just- to enable Malta to survive . Of course if the prize was worth the cost is another matter but that does not stop the story being something of an epic in itself. Well worth purchasing especially if you can get it cheaper than list -which I did. Nice one Max.