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Reviews page 3 of 3


First Victory

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First Victory: Britain's forgotten struggle in the Middle East, 1941
Constable and Robinson, 2006

'This is a book which deserves to be widely read and should be required reading for those involved in the management and conduct of operations in the Middle East today.' Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, MC
'I...found the account of our operations fascinating.' His Grace the Duke of Wellington, KG., LVO., OBE., MC., DL
'Excellent book...Lyman reveals the fascinating story of the forgotten desert battles of 1941 that fundamentally changed the course of WWII.' Military Illustrated

Millitary Illustrated 2006 – Book of the Month

In this excellent book, Robert Lyman, best-selling author of Slim, Master of War, and an officer in the British Army for 20 years, reveals the fascinating story of the forgotten desert battles of 1941 that fundamentally changed the course of World War Two. Lyman proves Churchill's famous pronouncement 'Before El Alamein Britain never had a victory...' to be untrue. The real turning point came in the extraordinary struggle for mastery in the Middle East a year before.

Lyman tells how in the summer of 1941, beleaguered British forces won a hard-fought series of largely forgotten victories in Iraq, Syria and Iran that secured crucial supplies of oil and curbed German expansion in the region.

First Victory is an exciting story of victories achieved against the odds – fraught negotiations between London, Cairo and New Delhi, hastily assembled troops and campaigns played out in harsh desert conditions. The siege of the RAF base at Lake Habbaniya in Iraq is a brilliant example, one of the many exciting passages in this book. 1941 could have been the year in which Britain lost the war Lyman reveals here how very close we came.

Review by Peter Marriot


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