Most helpful positive review
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
very detailed account of a key moment in WWII
on 25 October 2009
In August 1942, Malta was on the brink of starvation, and on the brink of being lost to the Axis powers. Malta was a lynchpin, with submarines and strike aircraft taking a hefty toll of supplies flowing to Rommel in North Africa - naval surface forces had been withdrawn, due to the exceptionally heavy bombing from the air. Without Malta, Rommel would probably have reached Cairo; because of the forces stationed at Malta, Rommel did not have enough supplies, and this was a big contribution to his defeat at Alamein. From that moment, the tide turned for the British forces.
This book tells how a convoy of 14 merchant ships, with a very strong Royal Navy escort, sailed from Gibraltar to Malta; how they suffered heavy Axis attacks, both from submarines, small surface craft, and air forces, for much of the way; and how few of them arrived, and of the vital difference this made to the Allied effort.
The text shows that an enormous amount of research has gone into a very detailed account. A bit too detailed, at times, in that the main story seems to get lost, at times, in the various separate strands - for me, they did not really come together in a single story. I could not see much of the wood, for too many trees (a poor metaphor!). Overall, very good on detail, a rather dry style, but a worthy telling of a very important story.