SIEGE: MALTA 1940 - 1943
by Ernle Bradford
I've been collecting and reading books concerning World War 2 for the last few years and because significant anniversaries related to war events* will occur this year I'll likely be reminded of the topics covered in several of my book choices.
While speaking with a WW2 veteran on the phone recently, I was told informed that the veteran was wounded during the invasion of Italy (Sept. 1943) and was hospitalized in Malta. I recalled my father was hospitalized there as well for dysentery. And I was also reminded of one book in my small WW2 collection about that island and recommend it today, for two reasons.
First, SEIGE: MALTA 1940 - 1943 by Ernle Bradford tells the story of a Mediterranean island that played a strategic role in the outcome of WW2. Both Allied and Axis forces wanted Malta in their possession because it served as key to controlling its region and beyond. One can measure Malta's importance by comparing the number of bombs dropped upon its head - and tonnage of war materials delivered to and through its ports - to any other island, other than England perhaps.
Second, some of the language strikes me as riveting and prose-like. I underlined or high-lighted several such sentences or paragraphs:
it was Winston Churchill who now
maintained that Malta must be held
at all costs or the road to the east
would be open to the Axis forces.
In this view he was fully supported
by his admiral, for Cunningham
had never had the slightest doubt
about the small island's importance
in any conflict that might take place
in the Mediterranean.
Fortunately for Malta, Hitler
was considerably less percipient
than his predecessor Napoleon.
An early German strike with their
immense preponderance of air power
against the poorly-equipped island
might well have succeeded, and
the face of history would indeed
have been changed.
I found my copy in a used-book store in Gananoque. I hedged for a few seconds because of the $6 price tag. I'm just a toot. It is definitely worth the price. It was worth the trip!
I now recommend you tramp through a favourite book store for your own copy.
* very significant anniversaries of WWI and WW2 events occur this year. WWI began in 1914, 100 years ago. WWII in 1939, 75 years ago.
Photos by GH
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