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The Mediterranean and Middle East: Volume I The Early Successes Against Italy (To May 1941): History of the Second World War: United Kingdom Mility ... Second World War: United Kingdom Military) Paperback – 13 Feb 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • The Mediterranean and Middle East: Volume I The Early Successes Against Italy (To May 1941): History of the Second World War: United Kingdom Mility ... Second World War: United Kingdom Military)
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  • The Mediterranean and Middle East: Volume II The Germans Come to the Help of their Ally (1941): History of the Second World War: United Kingdom ... Ally" (1941), Official Campaign History v. II
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  • The Mediterranean and Middle East: Volume III British Fortunes reach their Lowest Ebb (September 1941 to September 1942): (September 1941 to September ... Second World War: United Kingdom Military)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 626 pages
  • Publisher: Naval and Military Press (13 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845740653
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845740658
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 4 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,228,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Mediterranean and Middle East series is the best of the British Second World War official campaign histories, especially the first four volumes by I.S.O. Playfair and later ones by W.G.F. Jackson. The series covers the fighting undertaken by British, Imperial and Dominion troops, the air forces and the navy in East and North Africa, the Middle East, Greece, the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, Gibraltar, and Italy etc from 1940 to 1945.

These volumes are a wealth information detailing logistical and supply issues faced by not only the Allies but the Axis forces, the political background informing the reader, for example, of deals brokered with the Iraqi government in the 1930s and the military and political deals that were attempted with the Turkish government prior to war etc.

As the introduction to the books state, they cannot go into too much detail on the tactical level telling you about what each battalion did in such and such battle however the books give you a really good description of the fighting in the battles and operations that were conducted and even devote quite a number of pages to a one day battle that other books basically gloss over. Numerous charts are provided within the volumes detailing the manpower, plane, artillery and tank strengths of each side as well as the casualties suffered; for example the information covering the El Alamein battles break down the tank strengths of each side showing the number of each particular tank model.

There are a few minor quibbles and the only major drawback is that these new versions lack the coloured maps that are hinted to have existed, throughout the text, that the originals had - although there are black and white maps in there place.; although one feels that they are not always 100% helpful.
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Format: Paperback
This book covers a period in history which could easily be forgotten, yet were some of the most important battles of WW2. My father was one of many soldiers involved in the middle East and Mediterranean, he will be 90 years old this year -and buying him this book has given him an opportunity to remember those days of his life.
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Good book, as advertised, prompt delivery.
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Husband delighted with it good read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best British Official History Series! 8 Jun. 2011
By Carl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Mediterranean and Middle East series is the best of the British Second World War official campaign histories, especially the first four volumes by I.S.O. Playfair and later ones by W.G.F. Jackson. The series covers the fighting undertaken by British, Imperial and Dominion troops, the air forces and the navy in East and North Africa, the Middle East, Greece, the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, Gibraltar, and Italy etc from 1940 to 1945.

These volumes are a wealth information detailing logistical and supply issues faced by not only the Allies but the Axis forces, the political background informing the reader, for example, of deals brokered with the Iraqi government in the 1930s and the military and political deals that were attempted with the Turkish government prior to war etc.

As the introduction to the books state, they cannot go into too much detail on the tactical level telling you about what each battalion did in such and such battle however the books give you a really good description of the fighting in the battles and operations that were conducted and even devote quite a number of pages to a one day battle that other books basically gloss over. Numerous charts are provided within the volumes detailing the manpower, plane, artillery and tank strengths of each side as well as the casualties suffered; for example the information covering the El Alamein battles break down the tank strengths of each side showing the number of each particular tank model.

There are a few minor quibbles and the only major drawback is that these new versions lack the coloured maps that are hinted to have existed, throughout the text, that the originals had - although there are black and white maps in their place.; although one feels that they are not always 100% helpful. Additionally the majority of these volumes were originally published prior to the release of the ULTRA secret so when there have been intelligence coups ULTRA is not mentioned, the issue is glossed over with blanket statements and how the information was gathered is not discussed.

The success of these volumes is apparent by the numerous secondary sources, on the fighting covering these areas that cite these volumes as source material. These, while pricey, are well worth the investment for anyone interested in an excellent overview of the fighting, politics, supply and logistics, and statistics covering the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre. The best British Official History Series!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The British "Happy Time" 22 Mar. 2016
By Magnitude - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book recounts the period in the Mediterranean when the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth allies were left on their own to defend their empire against the Italians and Germans in WWII.

Unlike other official histories, this book includes army, air force, and naval aspects in one overview rather than in separate narratives. This is largely effective, although the writing style seems to shift in different sections, which is noticeable but not jarring. In fact, the book was quite readable, and the authors clearly made an attempt to write in plain English for a mass audience.

Highlights from this timeframe include several naval actions, namely the Taranto raid. On the ground, the British won huge successes in East Africa and in Operation Compass, driving the Italians out of Libya and capturing tens of thousands. The air force, which was hampered by an inadequate logistical base, managed to dominate the Italian air force.

These successes obscure one dominant theme that comes through clearly upon reading today. The Mediterranean (and specifically, the Suez shipping lanes) presented a paradox for the British: too important to not defend, yet too unimportant to defend adequately. This shows up in a number of ways, but mainly in the lack of an an adequate infrastructure to support armed forces, especially the air force. The British were always scrambling to find enough troops, ships, and planes to fulfill various demands; their successes in Compass are more outstanding because they were achieved with essentially 3 divisions vs an entire Italian army. Even as something as basic as providing water for the troops presented challenges, and the authors touch on these and other aspects. So, it’s important to remember this context for the various operations that go on: they took place in the middle of vast, undeveloped areas. It’s sometimes easy to forget this when focused on strategy, tactics, and weapons.

Given this context, the need for allies is another important theme. This mainly involved Greece and Turkey. There are long passages about some of the diplomatic and military aspects of alliances with these countries. This is less surprising for Greece, which was involved in a land campaign with Italy. However, the problem for the British was how to support the Greeks, and whether such support would be, in the end, wasted or lost. In contrast, the references to British-Turkish relations in this account is more puzzling, given that it stayed neutral and played no role in military events in the theater. The British were hoping to draw it in as an ally, but Turkey insisted that it wasn’t ready for war. Presumably, the British were concerned about being outflanked by the Axis through Turkey, and it is interesting to speculate what would have happened had the Axis attacked through Turkey to assault the Suez from two sides. Nevertheless, the British-Turkey courtship would continue, sometimes absurdly given Britain’s constant rejections by Turkey.

The book remains a standard account of the period and an important foundation stone in any understanding of events in the theater. The Italian side is touched upon occasionally, but seldom in much depth.

The Kindle edition that I read had the standard amount of typos. Pictures and maps were included, but giving scaling issues in this format, the photos were a better addition than the minuscule maps.
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