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

Version: Unabridged
Author: Neill Lochery
Narrator: Robin Sachs
Genres: History, Military
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: November 2011
# of Units: 7 CDs
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes
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Throughout the Second World War, Lisbon was at the very center of the world's attention and was the only European city in which both the Allies and the Axis powers openly operated. Portugal was frantically trying to hold on to its self-proclaimed wartime neutrality but in reality was increasingly caught in the middle of the economic, and naval, wars between the Allies and the Nazis. The story is not, however, a conventional tale of World War II in that barely a shot was fired or a bomb dropped. Instead, it is a gripping tale of intrigue, betrayal, opportunism, and double-dealing, all of which took place in the Cidade da Luz and along its idyllic Atlantic coastline. It is the story of how a relatively poor European country not only survived the war physically intact but came out of it in 1945 much wealthier than it had been when war broke out in 1939. Portugal's emergence as a prosperous European Union nation would be financed in part, it turns out, by a cache of Nazi gold.

During the war, Lisbon was a temporary home to much of Europe's exiled royalty, over one million refugees seeking passage to the US, and to a host of spies, secret police, captains of industry, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs, and black marketeers. An operations officer writing in 1944 described the daily scene at Lisbon's airport as being like the movie Casablanca'times twenty.

In this riveting narrative, renowned historian Neill Lochery draws on his relationships with high-level Portuguese contacts, records recently uncovered from Portuguese secret police and banking archives, and other unpublished documents to offer a revelatory portrait of the war's backstage.

'As interested as history readers may be in the spying, the economic war over tungsten and Allied demands for an Azores base dominate this history. A productive archival sleuth, Lochery makes original contributions to the literature of neutrality in WWII.''Booklist

Reviews (2)

Written by Gerald Schweitzer on November 7th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Nice summary of Lisbon during the period of 39-45 when we've heard so much of the other aspects of World War II.

Written by Shaun Louw on October 21st, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Fascinating story. Knits nicely into the wider WWII story. Recommended for WWII buffs.

Author Details

Author Details

Lochery, Neill

Neill Lochery 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 US, the UK, and the Middle East. He is currently based at University College London and regularly gives talks in Europe, the Middle East, and North America.