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Fortress Malta: Under Seige 1940-1943
     

Fortress Malta: Under Seige 1940-1943

by James Holland
 
June 11, 1940. Italian aircraft pummel the idyllic Mediterranean island of Malta. It is the first of more than three thousand raids that the island will suffer as it becomes the most bombed place on earth.

The day before, Mussolini had declared war on Britain, and in that moment, the tiny island of Malta'slightly larger than Cape Codbecame one of the most important

Overview

June 11, 1940. Italian aircraft pummel the idyllic Mediterranean island of Malta. It is the first of more than three thousand raids that the island will suffer as it becomes the most bombed place on earth.

The day before, Mussolini had declared war on Britain, and in that moment, the tiny island of Malta'slightly larger than Cape Codbecame one of the most important strategic pieces of land in the world.

Today, this valiant story is largely forgotten, but James Holland offers a riveting portrait of the siege that helped determine victory or defeat in World War II. For nearly three years, Malta held the key to dominance in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Lying between Italy and Libya, Malta was the ideal place from which to attack shipping lines supplying Italian and German forces in North Africa. To save Egypt, the Suez Canal, and the Middle East oil fields from Nazi control, it was essential that the island be held at all costs.

The Axis powers were equally determined to annihilate Malta. In two months aloneMarch and April 1942more bombs fell on Malta than on London during the entire Blitz. A small band of fighter pilots facing the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica; a garrison of British and American troops; and a stubborn local population refused to surrender to vastly superior forces. Despite starvation and disease, the Maltese bravely held out. Not only did they hang on, their torpedo bombers and submariners continued to sink critical amounts of Rommel's supplies. In honor of this tenacity and bravery, George VI bestowed the George Cross, the highest civilian award for valor, upon the entire island.

Fortress Malta follows the story through the eyes of individuals who were there: the pilots, submariners, soldiers, and civilians who provide the tales of heroism, resilience, love, and loss. Using interviews with survivors, letters, and diaries never-before-published, James Holland brings to life this extraordinary real-life David-and-Goliath battle in a moving, astonishing narrative.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
James Holland has told the survivors' stories in vivid detail. — Victorino Matus
Library Journal
From crusading knights and Ottoman Turks, to Napoleon's armies, to fascist Germans and Italians, Malta has witnessed more conflict than most nations-in fact, it held the distinction of being the most frequently bombed place on earth during World War II. English journalist Holland, who has written for the Times of London and the Daily Telegraph, chronicles the nearly three-year siege of the tiny island and vital British outpost from 1940 to 1943. In that period, Malta, which served as a link between Europe and North Africa, withstood attacks by the German and Italian air forces that were often heavier, longer, and more frequent than those in the Battle of Britain. Holland opens by showing readers a Malta that is vibrant and bustling, yet woefully ill defended before ending with a country that is in ruins but undefeated, drawing on original interviews with survivors and other documents. At the same time, the author successfully puts the fate of Malta into the greater context of the Mediterranean and North African theaters. The Maltese people's stories of personal courage and suffering also shine through in Holland's superb documentation. Strongly recommended for all libraries as the most rounded account of Malta's wartime life.-Brian K. DeLuca, Avon Lake P.L., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401351861
Publisher:
Miramax Books
Publication date:
09/08/2003
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

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