Email this review


These two (both being published in September) are being reviewed together because of the interrelation of their subject matter. The Hay book, which may get a ride on his name, is an historical overall of the long siege, lacking the personal experience value of the Gerard, and differing at certain points of factual content. He reports on the process of building the island defenses under the governor generalship of Dobbie, man of great faith. He tells of the process of total conscription, of the anxiety of the first raids, the toughening of the civilian morale, the successive offenses, by sea and air, the success in getting the convoys through to bring them relief. At the close Hay traces the history of the island and its two classic sieges of the past...Gerard's book reads much better. Gerard was Intelligence Officer attached to Sir William Dobbie's staff during the two most critical years of Malta's endurance test -- and this is the story of the civilian front, its determination and faith. There are numerous personal stories of the people with whom he was in contact, women and children and their selfless heroism, pilots with their old fighter aircraft, the gunners and submarines based there, the complete devastation of the city, the hunger. Not an action story like Malta Spitfire; with none of the spuriousness of Malta Story; but a personal account of the siege with the feel of close-up human interest, rather than the long-range impersonality of the Hay book.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1943
Publisher: Appleton-Century; Whittlesey House