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Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-1945

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  310 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Lisbon played a pivotal role in World War II, though not a shot was fired there. It temporarily lodged a host of refugees, spies, secret police, bankers, writers, artists, and others. It was once referred to as being like the movie Casablancatimes twenty.
Audio CD, 7 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 2011)
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Loring Wirbel
Sometimes, a small, quirky book can enlighten certain moments in history's backwaters with writing that may not be stellar, but gives us a unique glimpse at corners all but forgotten. Lochery had a tight, configured story to tell which helped explain the way the "neutrals" viewed Hitler, yet he tells his story in a film-noir style, evoking a Lisbon explicitly similar to Bogart's "Casablanca." Is the book a little bit gossipy in its tales of Wallis Simpson and Peggy Guggenheim? Without a doubt. ...more
Margarida
Jun 22, 2014 Margarida rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Na verdade é mais 3,5*!

Não conhecia o autor, apesar de pelos vistos ser especialista em política e história europeia moderna… falha minha!
O tema II Guerra Mundial sempre me fascinou, talvez por ter sido um marco na História da Humanidade e que mudou o Mundo para sempre. Por isso e principalmente por o tema central deste livro ser o papel de Portugal nesse período, achei que seria uma leitura interessante e, quem sabe, enriquecedora do ponto de vista histórico…
E foi uma boa aposta! Ainda que ac
...more
Vera
Feb 16, 2012 Vera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, english
This book doesn't bring any new information but it's very objective about Portugal during the Estado Novo period, especially because it's unusual for Britons to understand the Portuguese point of view regarding WWII. Yet the author is quite impartial and completly understands the politics of a small state who managed to tread very carefully and shrewdly to avoid being sucked in to the worst conflict humanity ever went through.

Salazar had three main objectives: preserving the independence of Port
...more
Andrew
Jan 11, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid history of Portugal's role as a neutral country and Antonio Salazar's efforts to keep the country from being drawn into World War II -- or worse, being attacked by Spain. It tells the story of the capital, Lisbon, which was the capital of espionnage and counter-espionnage for the Allies and Axis powers during the war. Lochery keeps the story relevant to American readers by not delving too deeply into the histories of various Portugese personalities in the story, even cutting the story of ...more
Maria
Lisbon in 1939, had a 400+ year alliance with Great Britian and no standing army. Add in a Spanish neighbor with ambitions for conquest and an alliance/friendship with Germany; it was only thru skilled negotiations and compromises that Portugal remained neutral. Salazar, dictator and leading government bureaucrat had a long memory of 1807 when Napoleon invaded Lisbon. He knew how long it took to recover and he knew how poor Portugal was in 1939. He traded with both Allies and Axis to protect Por ...more
Karen
May 01, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished, history, war
I imagine that it is to my parents' eternal shame and disappointment that I, a history nerd who can recite random facts about Canada and Europe, know nothing about the country from which my family comes. And it looks like that ignorance might continue for a bit longer.
The style of this book simply wasn't to my liking. I was rather enthusiastic at the beginning - the chapters are short enough to pick up for a few minutes and set back down - but I really lost interest quickly. Perhaps I'll steal
...more
Laurie
Jun 08, 2015 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the writing in this book was choppy and sometimes disjointed, the subject was fascinating. I had always wondered just how "neutral" Portugal was during WWII and how it could stay neutral. I also had very little respect for Salazar, Portugal's dictator for decades who was more in line politically to other fascist dictators like Mussolini, Franco and Hitler. As it turns out, Salazar was pretty deft in his ability to keep Portugal "neutral." That word is in quotation marks because there wa ...more
Peter Cox
Apr 22, 2014 Peter Cox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book covers the period of the second world war. Portugal was neutral, along with fellow Iberian states Spain and Andorra. Lisbon thus became a city of espionage for Allied and Axis agents alike. The book covers Nazi Gold (tungsten), occupation of timor by Japan, threat of german and spanish invasion, historical union with GB, jewish refugees, ian fleming at the casino, distrust of usa imperialism, cold war prophesy following demise of germany.

What sort of a man was António Salazar? A sympath
...more
Skuli Saeland
Fræðandi rit um línudans Portúgalska einræðisherrans Salazars í síðari heimsstyrjöldinni þegar hann reyndi eftir megni að halda landi sínu utan hernaðarátaka en um leið græða sem mest á Bandamönnum og Öxulveldunum.
Þetta er fyrst og fremst pólitísk saga sem lýsir sjónarmiði einræðisherrans sem mat aðstæður kalt út frá eigin hagsmunum. Honum var sama um ofsóknir nasista gegn gyðingum, stórgræddi á því að selja hernaðarlega mikilvæg hráefni til Þjóðverja og tókst, líkt og Sviss, að safna miklu magn
...more
Johan
Jun 19, 2014 Johan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lisbon
I enjoyed this book, which gives some insight into parts of Portuguese and WW2 history that is normally not covered in the history books. The book is mostly a portrait of the Portuguese leader/dictator Salazar, and for me this was the most interesting part as I've found it quite hard to get a grasp of how life in Portugal under Salazar really were. In this book, the morally doubtful position of trying to keep Portugal out of the war at any cost (while trying to maximize wartime profits) is studi ...more
Jim
Jul 02, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in this book because I had an older friend who helped run the Hungarian government in exile, which was based in Lisbon. He had many stories of the years he spent there with spies everywhere; untimely deaths; intrigue; suspicious 'accidents.' The whole panoply of characters of a neutral city open to all.

This book confirms what he told us, but has a narrow focus. It was very interesting, and I learned a lot about the brilliance of the dictator Salazar. He was still dictator when I
...more
Jose Batista
Feb 05, 2015 Jose Batista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
...more
Xana
Aug 28, 2015 Xana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
The content of the book is in fact really interesting. Being Portuguese myself, I must admit that I ignored many of the dynamics that revolve around Portugal's role in WWII.
This book tells the story on how Portugal kept its neutrality and came out better than before, opposite to everyone else.
However, the way the information is structured is confusing. i understand the author's approach, and I can even imagine that, in theory, it sounded like a good idea to tell the story per theme, rather than
...more
Paul W
Portugal in the 1930s and 1940s was a contradiction: an authoritative, albeit benign, dictatorship in a period where the democracies were at war with dictatorships; but it also had an ‘ancient alliance with England’, with the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty dating back to 1373. A major supplier of tungsten to the Germans; but also a point of exit for numerous Jewish refugees.
While not playing quite the ‘pivotal role in the history of World War II’ that the book’s dustjacket claims, the history of Lisbon
...more
Margaret Sankey
From its advantageous position on the Atlantic, Portugal, poor and overlooked except for its traditional alliance with Britain, became a player of significance in WWII and Lisbon the center of covert and overt negotiations and scheming. While both sides bribed service industry workers and shuffled spies and refugees through the port, Salazar and his chief of Secret Police attempted to work to Portugal's survival and advantage--keeping neutrality in the face of threatened German invasion and Alli ...more
Margarida
Esta obra do autor escocês Neil Lochery, especialista em política e história europeia moderna, trata o clima que se vivia na cidade de Lisboa nos anos 40, quando decorria a II Guerra Mundial.
Lisboa torna-se um cenário de espionagem, bem aos estilo dos filmes de James Bond, em que o glamour e as tácticas de espionagem de guerra convivem lado a lado nos espaços cosmopolitas da capital e na zona de Cascais, onde se refugiam aristocratas e monarcas caídos em desgraça noutros países ocupados da Europ
...more
Converse
An additional sub-title for this book might be "how the dictator Salazar avoided fighting with either side, brought Portugual to a trade surplus and enriched its banks with gold stolen by the Nazis." Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, apparently the only European dictator of that era who did not strut about in military uniform, was in the sticky position of being leader of a country that had been allied to Britain since 1300 and also bordering a country, Spain, that appeared to be allied to Germany. S ...more
Joe
Apr 09, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Portugal played a dangerous game of tightrope during World War II. On the one hand it was bound to England by treaty and on the other it was bound by idealogy to Fascism. But tthe Portuguese dictator, Antonio Salazar, was no Nazi ( he had Jewish friends and supporters) and correctly predicted that the Allies would win the war. His one goal was to keep Portugal out of the war especially in the light of his country's disasterous entry into the First World War. But Portugal had two things that were ...more
Stefanie
Jul 05, 2013 Stefanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like reading books about cities, especially when the city has a unique historic period. Lisbon certainly did during WW2, and Lochery provides good historic detail for anyone who knows little or nothing about Lisbon during this period. The book sleeve, unfortunately, provides the most atmospheric snapshot with suggestions that it will emit the same feel as the film, Casablanca. Alas, Lochery never delivers on this promise, mainly because his prose is dry and rather repetitive across the chapter ...more
Trevor Nicholson
Aug 03, 2014 Trevor Nicholson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Normally I don't bother to write reviews, but I wanted to clarify why I only gave this book three stars. The main reason is simple: lack of proofreading. There were so many spelling and grammar mistakes in this book it was painful. How it got published with so many glaring errors is a mystery. The smaller issue I have is the obsession with Casablanca. I really don't care. I've not seen the movie. Stop writing about how Lisbon was like Casablanca and trying to make it some sort of spy-thriller by ...more
Danny Bobby
Jul 14, 2014 Danny Bobby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A warning to anyone (if you exist) who reads my reviews... this book reads mostly like a history text book. There was a lot of really interesting material in this book, and it was difficult to tell which side of the fence the author was on, which I think is a good thing for a record that tries to be as historical as possible.

The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it seemed to jump around a bit, but I think that might have been because there were so many threads of the main story to
...more
John
Jan 30, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very fun read, even though the book is a bit uneven in places. The author, a historian in the United Kingdom, found a really fresh angle on the Second World War by writing about Portugal, an ostensibly neutral country. Much of the book focuses on the jockeying that occurred in Lisbon between the British, the Germans, and the Salazar government. The book really doesn't have much to do with Lisbon, apart from it being the location for most of these dealings, nor does it really explore Po ...more
Matthew
Apr 02, 2016 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book about Portugal (not just Lisbon) during the Second World War. Antonio Oliveira Salazar, the dictator of the Estado Novo, the contemporary Portuguese government, had to walk a delicate line in preserving his country’s neutrality, while trying to make as much money off of both sides as possible. Part of Portugal’s postwar prosperity came from a pile of gold acquired from the Nazis, including gold confiscated from conquered territories. The author, who more recently wrote a book about Brazil ...more
David
A competent, even good, book. However, the book focuses too much on the political leadership of Lisbon to the detriment of all the intrigue which was occurring in its streets and back alleys. Even when it does look at the espionage and refugees it does not seem to be able to integrate this with the main thrust of the narrative.

As well, the characters never seen to come alive, and this reader was left indifferent to a topic that should have been very engaging.

But I would recommend this book to
...more
Keval
Feb 09, 2016 Keval rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a helpful introduction to Portugal's wartime history. I think the author did a pretty credible job in being balanced. Above all, the book suggests, once again, that power and politics do trump morals when push comes to shove. My main problem with this book though, was its inconsistent editing.
Betsyjackson
Feb 20, 2016 Betsyjackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read on Portugal's role in WWII, especially regarding Prime Minister Salazar's singular focus to remain neutral while navigating the demands of Allies and Axis powers. The book makes me want to move Lisbon and Portugal to the top of my lists of places to visit.
Michael Rodgers-wilson
We have learned so much about ww2 and wars in general but generally speaking we hear little about the neutral countries. this book is a very interesting insight about stuff I never knew.
David Alonso vargas
Un muy interesante análisis sobre el papel de Lisboa y el Portugal Salazarista en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Sin duda un gran libro
Mark
Aug 16, 2014 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
somewhat repetitive but kept me entertained throughout. As a son of Azorean immigrants, I especially enjoyed the passages describing the archipelago's strategic importance for the beligerents
Pam Ela
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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 divides his time between London, Lisbon, and the Middle East.
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