The Bitter Sea: The Brutal World War II Fight for the Mediterranean Paperback – 1 Apr 2010
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Praise for ‘The Guardsmen’:
‘Excellent…a historical classic brilliantly executed and an irresistible read.’ Guardian
‘Through skilful stitching of threads from personal and official papers, Ball has woven a superb panoramic tapestry of 20th-century Conservative politics…Compelling.’ Sunday Times
‘A magnificent achievement…Superb scholarship, profound insight and written in a style both incisive and flowing, this is a book for every taste. I cannot recommend it too highly.’
From the Back Cover
With incisive strategic and political analysis, Simon Ball demonstrates in this dramatic narrative how the Mediterranean Sea lay at the heart of recent world history.
The British conceived the Mediterranean as the world's great thoroughfare, from Gibraltar in the west to the Suez Canal in the east. For Mussolini, the Mediterranean was 'Mare Nostrum', the stage for his violent vision of conquest. The French commanded an impressive navy and key ports. The Nazis found willing allies in the lands that encircled the sea. The Americans imagined a new kind of empire in the Mediterranean.
The blue waters of the Mediterranean, and its 'golden pavement' of surrounding nations, witnessed a brutal conflict of unlikely foes and opportunistic alliances. Spaniard fought Spaniard, German fought Italian, American confronted Arab and Briton killed Frenchman. The Mediterranean struggle was a modern, high intensity war - fought on land, sea and air. Its titanic battles stretched from Malaga to Beirut, from El Alamein to Anzio. It was also a war of propaganda, deception, insurgency and terrorism, where the lines of battle were not clearly defined. As the author demonstrates in sparkling prose, the Mediterranean was indeed the 'bitter sea'.
Based on the most up-to-date research, including newly-released intelligence dossiers, Simon Ball's compelling account untangles the plans and actions of the war's most powerful decision makers, famous and forgotten. The result is exceptionally readable and original.
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Bitter Sea" is a fascinating but difficult read. With an enormous scope, "The Bitter Sea" tells many stories: French - English tensions in the Middle East, the Greek civil war, sabotage actions in the Balkans, Italian special forces, the relationship between Hitler and Mussolini, London Home Office and English Headquarters in Cairo, Arab nationalism and Berlin, the decline of colonialism, American containment of Communism, Zionism and ultimately the rise of the United States as the dominant regional power and the Middle East as oil supplier. In addition, the fluid loyalties of many parties involved, driven by low motives and compensating (military) incompetence with politics, further adds to the complexity.
This book is well researched, and Ball has used numerous less known sources. In addition, the writer seems to revel in discrediting carefully constructed myths and generally accepted perceptions of events and persons. "The Bitter Sea" therefore assumes the reader has (a wide) knowledge of the history of the Mediterranean and the Second World War, making it not suitable for a novice looking for an introduction of the topic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
`Its a good book covering many aspects of the Mediterranean Campaign in WW2Published 8 months ago by buster
A very good overview of a lesser-known theatre of war. However, when I say overview I'm not joking! It goes into great detail of much of the political infighting, especially on the... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Amazon Customer
Firstly, I must agree for the most part with the first reviewer who concluded it was 'not an easy read' and therefore one for the novices. Read morePublished on 4 Dec. 2011 by C.W.W