The Mediterranean sea lies at the very heart of recent world history. A hive of vital sea-routes and forming the shores of some of the most vital countries in the world‚ the Mediterranean was‚ to the British during the Second World War‚ the world's great thoroughfare. To the Americans‚ it represented the answer to anti-imperialism and to Mussolini it encapsulated his violent vision of conquest. The three great powers - Italy‚ Germany and‚ finally‚ the United States attempted to overthrow the existing order in the Mediterranean‚ resulting in a collision of allies as well as enemies the like hadn't been seen before: Germans fought against Italians‚ the Americans against the Arabs‚ the Jews against the British‚ the French against nearly everyone. The Mediterranean was indeed 'the bitter sea'.
In this masterly‚ succinct and compelling history‚ Simon Ball takes us through the tumultuous events set in motion by Mussolini's lust for conquest that ended with the creation of Israel. Long drawn-out battles on land‚ sea and air - dominated by the WWII's most illustrious war heroes‚ Churchill‚ Hitler‚ Eisenhower and Rommel amongst them - resulted in Allied victory in the battle of El Alamein‚ terrifying desert campaigns of Africa and the eventual defeat of Italy and then Germany.
The War in the Mediterranean had profound consequences for all those who fought in it‚ but none more profound that for the lands‚ nations and peoples that lived around the sea‚ the affects of which can still be witnessed today.