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79
4.7 out of 5 stars
The Kappillan of Malta (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 1999
Monserrat's book is probably the smartest insight into the character of the Maltese people penned by a non-Maltese I've ever read. The author has clearly understood the relevance of the Catholic religion and hierarchy; the sea and draught; but also the hardships of history especially in War time, when one tries to figure out what Malta and the Maltese are all about.
Try reading this book AFTER you've visited our islands, and see how your judgements compare with Monserrat's ...
Apart from being a great anthropological reading, this book is great fun to read ... a good novel by any standard.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2003
I can't remember being so moved by a book. My father lived in the caves in Floriana, Malta during the war and this book is the first I've read that portrays the horrors that my family experienced. For a non-Maltese, the author understands and perfectly captures the Maltese sense of humour and the importance of their faith to them. The format is unusual - part historical, part fictional but this works well and eventually I found myself wondering which bits were fictional and which were fact. This is a first class Maltese history book and a first class novel. One question remains, did Dun Salve really exist or is he completely fictional..?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2011
This book is a classic for anyone who is interested in Malta, and especially her rich history of triumphs over her enemies throughout the centuries.

Set in World War 2,the story centres around a humble priest who cares for his people and tries to encourage them through the relentless bombing of their island,and the near starvation which they endured. He does this by reminding them of all the times the small island has withstood the many onslaughts of the past.
Alongside this is the romantic tale of his niece and a British serviceman.

It is neatly divided into the main "episodes" of the various sieges on Malta and underlines the resilience and bravery of the Maltese people.It also gives a flavour of how closely bound they were with the British,which both her culture and relationships reflect to this day.

An idea to enhance the reading of the book, which is definitely a product of its time, would be to purchase,(or borrow), a copy of the film "The Malta Story", starring Alec Guinness.This film includes actual news-reel from the war. It too, is of its era, but if you are interested in Malta,you will want a copy of it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2013
The writer was involved in the war and saw life at its rawest in Malta during that period. the research into the background of the people is superb with characters coming to life and being truly human. It has a sense of realism that many fiction stories lack. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in Malta, the way they survived the war is amazing..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2013
I have always regarded Monsarrat's The Cruel Sea as one of the great sea stories of the 20th Century. This is also a great story, told from an unusual view point. I first read it when it first came out in the 1970s. I bought in paperback in the 90s, and when that fell to pieces, I bought a second hand hardback copy. When I found a kindle edition, I couldn't resist it; particularly as I was soon to travel to Malta on holiday.

Monsarrat lived and died on Gozo, the smaller, greener companion Island a couple of miles to the North of Malta. This obviously gave him the opportunity to get inside the heads of the Maltese people, a fact acknowledged by the Maltese themselves.

This book is not just a story set in Malta in WW2, it is the history of the Maltese people from caveman to the mid 20th Century. In virtually every other chapter, the main character tells the story of another significant chapter in Maltese history in a very readable form, covering the shipwreck of St Paul, the arrival of the knights of St John and their battle with the Turks, the arrival of Napoleon and the subsequent ejection of the French by the Maltese people supported by Lord Nelson and his favourite Captain, Captain Ball who became the Islands first British Governor.

All this is bound up in the main story of a high born but lowly Catholic Priest supporting his flock through Malta's battle for survival against the Italian and German blitz. This part of the story covers the horrors of continuous bombing, of near starvation, of the failed and successful convoys, of the ariel battles between uneven odds. It always leaves me with sense of being thoroughly entertained and with an admiration for the Maltese people. It also made me want to visit Malta. Something I have now done 3 times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2013
An incredible account depicting the heroism of the Maltese people, during the II World War,anyone who thinks they suffer deprivation these days, should most definitely read this book.Monsarratt brings Maltese life,history and their quite incredible
stoisism to life on every page
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2009
This atmospheric and gripping read has been a firm family favourite over many years and is an absolute must for anyone contemplating a trip to Malta and,in particular, Valetta. Everyone who ha ever read my copy has wanted one of their own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2013
Excellent book. Very poignant and a wonderful insight into how Malta thoroughly deserved and won her George Cross during World War 2. All explanations are clear and situations appealing into Malta's beautiful country and the character of the Kappillan is a delight.
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on 9 November 2012
This is my favourite book ever. It's not easy to read but is well worth the effort, particularly if you know Malta as I do. The book itself was slightly disappointing as it was classified as 'good' but omitted to say the cover was torn and the page edges were rough. I expected a little of this, it being a first edition, but the tears on the fly cover make it an eyesore to display alongside similar books and the photo did not reflect this, nor was it mentioned. However, the book itself is in a readable condition and, on the whole I'm pleased that I bought it. I can't fault the service. Impeccable as always.
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on 21 August 2014
A very moving story, chock full of history, both of WWII and many centuries earlier. The central character is an absolutely delightful priest - a humble man who rose to the horrendous challenges of Malta during the bombardment of the last war. Many well known, distinguished names from that war, not to mention Nelson, Napoleon, the Phoenecians and the Romans all play their part! Monsarrat lived on Gozo for his final years and his love of the islands and its people shine through. Highly recommended.
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