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During the war, Lisbon was a temporary home to much of Europe’s exiled royalty, over one million refugees seeking passage to the US, and to a host of spies, secret police, captains of industry, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs, and black marketeers. An operations officer writing in 1944 described the daily scene at Lisbon’s airport as being like the movie Casablanca - times twenty.
In this riveting narrative, renowned historian Neill Lochery draws on his relationships with high-level Portuguese contacts, records recently uncovered from Portuguese secret police and banking archives, and other unpublished documents to offer a revelatory portrait of the war’s backstage.
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By Lynn on 06-16-12
Expostiion of Little Known Story
I didn’t know much (well truthfully – nothing) about the role that Portugal played in the Second World War when I opened Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45. I found Neil Lochery’s book both engaging, informative, and entertaining. In this volume, Lochery (While Blame Israel 2011; View from the Fence 2006) tells the story of how dictator Antonio Salazar kept Portugal neutral in WWII and left his country relatively intact after the conflict. I found insights into how Salazar dealt with day-to-day management of the country intriguing. Anecdotes revealing how Salazar made decisions and implemented policies are particularly interesting. Certainly, Salazar was a gifted leader in this context. I would have appreciated more discussion of fascism in this context and how Salazar fit into that era. Perhaps Lochery has another book which will shed more light. At any rate, I was well rewarded by reading this book. The narration of Robin Sachs is excellent.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By J. M. Batista on 03-25-12
A remarkable period in the history of Lisbon
I was born in Lisbon and in my youth I still glimpsed the city and times the book refers to.
I felt transported to that epoch, such is the coherence of what I remember and know with the atmosphere recreated by the story and the narration.
I was unaware of some of the details of the planned occupation of the Azores and the gold trade but they certainly seem believable and in line with the known (to me) facts.
To the end the book abandons description and turns judgmental: it would have been a better book without that unnecessary twist.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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By Gillian on 12-04-11
Lisbon - War in the Shadows... an excellent read
Excellent writing about a little known 'theatre' during WWII that happened in Portugal. A wide-ranging conscientious indepth researched book with fascinating photographs of the various participants taken during 1939-1945.