From British journalist Holland comes this superbly engaging history of Malta, the island that was bombed more heavily than any other territory during World War II. Lying in a strategic position between Sicily and Africa, Malta oversaw the shipping routes that supplied the Axis campaign in North Africa, routes that the British were determined to control. Thus, they insisted on holding the island as a base, despite a prolonged aerial bombardment that nearly destroyed the garrison and subjected the island's population to famine. Dismissing the controversy over whether Malta and the Eastern Mediterranean were really worth holding on to during the war, Holland focuses on the people who lived and fought on the island. Drawing on dairies, letters and interviews, he reconstructs the stories of RAF pilot Alex Mackie, who was killed in his Hurricane over Malta, and the legendary photo-recon pilot Adrian Warburton, among many others. The sea and air battles around the island are also vividly depicted, but the real value of this book lies in its rare, intimate description of the Maltese perspective on the siege. Turning the last page, one understands why the island of Malta was collectively awarded the George Cross, the highest British civilian award for heroism.
Reviewed on: 09/22/2003 Release date: 09/01/2003 Genre: Nonfiction