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Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45 Hardcover – November 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586488791
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586488796
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly
“Lochery tells the gripping story of the city known as ‘Casablanca II’…engrossing and rewarding.” 

Booklist, September 20, 2011
“Lochery recounts wartime happenings in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, where the Allies and the Axis conducted the war through espionage, propaganda, and diplomatic pressure on Salazar to relinquish Portugal’s neutrality. A cloak-and-dagger atmosphere accordingly suffuses Lochery’s account…. A productive archival sleuth, [he] makes original contributions to the literature of neutrality in WWII.”
Shelf Awareness
“A lively, accessible and hair-raising history revealing every sordid detail of Lisbon during World War II--a time and place that many have chosen to forget in order to save face.”
Wall Street Journal
“Evocative…. [Lochery] skillfully documents the experiences of the rich and glamorous as well as the less fortunate and even sinister of the city’s war time arrivals… Distilling an enormous quantity of research, he has rendered a fascinating and readable account of this small country’s role in World War II, protected, as it was, by its wily champion.”
Seattle Times
“’Lisbon’ is a valuable source of information about an astonishing time and place.”
Columbia Daily News
featured in roundup of history books: “A fascinating account of one of the back stages of the War. Lisbon was a hotbed of intrigue and espionage while remaining neutral as the world fought around it.”\
“Like Casablanca, only 20 times more.”

Express Milwaukee
The Scotsman, four-star review
“Intrigue, betrayal, opportunism and double dealing’ Lochery promises us – and his engrossing book delivers all those things and more.”

Literary Review
"The twists and turns of Salazar's tight-rope diplomacy form the central thread of Neill Lochery's impressive account of wartime Lisbon and its leader... The personalities, plots and counterplots within that tale are absorbing... The book's principal worth lies in its illumination of Salazar, who emerges from Lochery's pages as a fascinating, tireless and single-minded figure."

About the Author

Neill Lochery, PhD, is a world-renowned source on Israel, the Middle East, and Mediterranean history. He is the author of five books and countless newspaper and magazine articles. He regularly appears on television in the UK, the USA, and the Middle East. He is currently based at University College London and regularly gives talks in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
A new and excellent book on the role of Portugal in World War ii.
Nicholas Tomich
Beautifully written, excellent and extensive archive research, this book makes a valuable contribution and is a hugely engaging read for anyone.
Far too much emphasis was placed on Salazar as a personality and efforts to delve into his motives are superficial, at best.
Keith A. Comess

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Wolfram". It's not a person, it's a mined mineral also called "tungsten". It makes a very hard surface and I can't even begin to talk about it scientifically. The only reason that wolfram has a place in my review of "Lisbon", by British author Neill Lochery, is that wolfram had an oh-so-important place in WW2 history. Wolfram was heavily mined in the Iberian peninsula - Spain and Portugal - and was a desperately needed product by both the Germans and the British in the making of their war materiel.

Portugal had long been ruled by dictator Antonio Salazar, and by the war's start, he had been playing a balancing act in his relationship with Spain, Germany, and Britain. Although officially "neutral", Salazar wanted to protect his country's neutrality - the neutrality of other countries had been violated by Germany - and play one side - Allied and Axis - against the other for both economic and cultural advantages. Portugal had long been an ally of Britain, but Salazar had to keep both sides satisfied with his claims of impartiality. He also had to try to keep Franco's Spain from entering the war. By way of keeping Portugal's claims of neutrality alive, his capital city of Lisbon went from a back-water capital without an international airport, to the "brightest" city in Europe. The lights of the city were a contrast to the blacked-out cities elsewhere on the continent and in England. No bombings for Lisbon; the city was a teeming kettle of refugees,bankers, spies, and profit-makers, trading in all the traditional commerce that come with refugees, bankers, and spies. Oh, and with the production and selling of wolfram.

Lochery's book is a well-written look at Salazar and his country and his relations with the WW2 world.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Strv 74 on November 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are an enormous amount of books written about the second world war and since I have spent a great deal of my hard earned money on them it takes something unusual these days to catch my interest. "Lisbon" did that and I must say that I was very pleased to find out that it was an excellent book. Not many books are written about the role of neutral countries during the second world war so this one fills a huge gap.

The Book gives you a window to peek into the past of Portugal but with the focus on Lisbon. Since I have been there it was an added value to read about places and streets that I have myself walked on. Lisbon today is in it's central parts not very different from what is described in the book.

The Book covers a lot and gives you a much needed better portrait of the Portuguese leader Salazar. The Man comes across as something else than the 1930s dictator that you usually think about. A lot of very interesting behind the curtains stories are also involved that gives you the deja vu feeling from Casablanca. The Problems with wolfram for the German armed forces are dealt with to a large extent.

The Reason that I hesitate to give five stars are that there are some issues that could have been explained somewhat more without adding to many pages. These are:

- Salazar is never written about as a fascist dictator in the book. During one of his public speeches he ends it with the fascist salute. Why? What was his view on fascism?

- The lack of Wolfram for the German armed forces at the end of the war had an important impact. German tanks did not have enough armour piercing rounds of ammunition nor were their own armour hardened enough to withstand armour piercing ammunition. This could have been explained.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Richard on November 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a first class academic study of Portugal during the Second World War. It is not a racy story. It is the research for the racy story. The world of prostitutes, spies, rich refugees, exotic secret police chiefs, corrupt bankers, Salazar and Churchill are all there. It is a must read for all of us who see the Inter-War years as the making of the world we now live in. These were the years that current representative governments were tempered in. It takes us through how one country with a benevolent dictator, faced up to the failure of democracy, the malevolence of Stalinist Marxism and its triggering of the malevolent fascist backlash that characterised middle years of the twentieth century. And like any non idealogical study of Franco find that Salazar was not a brutal fascist but a nationalist trying to hold his country together in the face of near impossible odds of the onslaughts of regional particularism, foreign invasion and collectivist ideology.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul on December 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book very much. World War II is such a vast subject, but this journey back in time to Lisbon was very interesting.

There is a large cast of characters in the book, but first and foremost must be Dr. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, the long time dictator of Portugal. It is common that the word dictator inspires fear or hatred, and many dictators of the past did just that, but Salazar was most interesting to me. He was completely in control of Portugal, and dedicated to Portugal, but he was in no way attempting to enrich himself. He never married, working so many hours that he had time for little else, and wrapping in coats and rugs in the winter so as not to use heat. Knowing that he had to preserve neutrality, he was masterful in playing the British and the Germans off each other, while very much aware that Portugal had little military capability and could not survive an invasion from Spain or Germany.

Lisbon itself was as described the big Casablanca. People of different walks of life were striving to get there in hopes of passage out of Europe and away from the Nazis. What had been a tepid tourism industry quickly changed with the war, and Lisbon boomed with people from all over Europe. Salazar allowed agents from Germany and England to operate in Lisbon, and they certainly did spy on each other, and quite oddly, often occupied the same restaurants and even the same dinner parties.

Tungsten, or wolfram, was mined in Portugal and was critical for military purposes. It hardened steel and was vital to Germany and every nation at war. Salazar was very crafty in using this to appease both sides and to profit for Portugal by selling to both belligerents and increasing the price as the war went along.
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