Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Lisbon had a pivotal role in the history of World War II, though not a gun was fired there. The only European city in which both the Allies and the Axis power operated openly, it was temporary home to much of Europe's exiled royalty, over one million refugees seeking passage to the U.S., and a host of spies, secret police, captains of industry, bankers, prominent Jews, wri...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by PublicAffairs (first published 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lisbon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lisbon

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 413)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
Peter Cox
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
I found this read very interesting as to Salazar, The Prime Minister of Portugal, and his ability to keep Portugal out of WWII. With German forces in France, Spain leaning towards the Axis powers, and an alliance with Britain going back centuries, PM Salazar had many "irons in the fire", and his constant juggling of these "irons" to keep Portugal neutral was a tremendous feat in itself. All in all I thought it was a very good read as to the trouble a country had to endure to remain neutral durin...more
As one reads through his narrative on why and how Portugal maintained its WWII neutrality, Lochery also offers readers interested in associated topics, such as Salazar's international affairs/political skill, and Portugal's war time economic policies, domestic politics, the mechanics of the Wolfram-Gold transactions, and the Azores as a military asset, a good deal of background on these plus a bibliography and list of sources for those intetested in a deeper understanding of them generally withi...more
Another country heard from: Portugal in WWII. Wow! Another world war seems a real possibility when you read about all the back dealing and corruption in a country that declared itself "neutral." They were, however, affected by all the rationing and limits that the war put on the rest of Europe. Makes me wonder how things really were in Switzerland, though in "Treasures from the Attic" about Anne Frank's family that made it to Switzerland, they seem to have had a relatively normal life.
I listened to this book and wonder whether I would have finished it if I'd been reading it on the page. Lisbon was the Casablanca of the famous movie, the place where spies and diplomats and bankers all met to do their wartime business in a neutral capital. This is first and foremost the story of Salazar, the dictator who ruled Portugal for 36 years. His greatest achievement was to keep Portugal neutral through the war which meant he traded with both the British and the Germans.
Interesting book with lots of influence from the movie "Casablanca." Less about Lisbon itself than about the diplomatic back-and-forth between the Portuguese dictator Salazar (who the author seems to think did the right thing in walking the tightrope of neutrality during the war) and the British and Germans. The author's writing style takes some getting used to. Recommended for WWII enthusiats.
Steven Lawrie
A well-researched study. Conveys the importance of Portugal within the context of WWII, provides an understanding of the Salazar regime, and gives an impression of the shady, but exciting, spy-infested Lisbon and the situation of refugees from NS Germany who had managed to escape to Portugal.
Interesting reading in conjunction with Erich MAria Remarque's novel Die Nacht von Lissabon.
This book compliments a number of other recent books on the lesser known parts of World War II. The big takeaway that Lochery provides is a sense of how much Lisbon had to struggle to maintain its neutrality. As he so clearly shows, neutrality does not equal passivity. While not exactly a page turner, it pulled me along and made me appreciate the grey areas of the war.
It is a great view and great research about the "so-not-neutral" position of Portugal and Salazar's politics during the WWII. However it could also focus more in the portuguese, their reactions to the war phases and their living style amongst the the dictatorial system and so as the refugees (besides looking to portugal as "gate" to the USA or Palestine)
Linda Nichols
This is another area of WWII I'm not familiar with. I've never really considered the plight of neutral countries during the War. This is very informative about Lisbon, about Portugal, about Salazar, and about the intrigues amongst the Lisboetas, the Allies, and the Axis powers. Good read; I highly recommend it.
A tightly-written, engaging little history about one of my favorite cities in the world. There's a reason why Lisbon was called "Casablanca II" during the war, a city teeming with spies, refugees, smugglers, arms dealers and diplomats. For such a colorful city, it occurs to me it may be better in black-and-white.
Fernanda Gaspar
Great read. Great detail about Lisbon during WWII, den of spies, and of global political intrigue.
Bob Battle
The title is misleading. This is a biography of Salazar & I'm not a fan of biographies. During WWII Lisbon was a neutral country & a meeting place for all sorts of people on both sides. Unfortunately this book only touched on that briefly.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc--the Rangers Who Accomplished D-Day's Toughest Mission and Led the Way across Europe
  • The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II
  • Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924
  • The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America, and the Story of Golf
  • The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice
  • Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine
  • The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe
  • The Quest for Anna Klein: An Otto Penzler Book
  • A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940
  • Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944--The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War
  • Memoirs of the Second World War
  • Hunting Midnight (The Sephardic Cycle, #2)
  • Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy
  • The Candy Bombers
  • The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice
  • The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War
  • Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island
  • Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past
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.
More about Neill Lochery...
Why Blame Israel Lisboa: A Cidade Vista de Fora, 1933-1974 Brazil: The Fortunes of War The View From the Fence: The Arab-Israeli conflict from the present to its roots Israeli Labour Party: In the Shadow of the Likud

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »