This entry in Pen & Sword's Images of War series looks at Malta during the Second World War, a period in which it was the key to control of the Mediterranean, and suffered a long siege and was the target of one of the longest and most severe bombing campaigns of the entire war.
The basic format consists of a single large photograph and its accompanying text per page. A key strength of the book is the length of the captions, each of which consists of at least one good sized paragraph, explaining the wider context of the picture (an example being the pictures of damaged buildings, most of which include details on the post-war fate of the building in question).
The pictures come from a variety of sources. A large number were taken by Sergeant William Lazell, who served with an anti-aircraft regiment on Malta from 1941-44. There are also pictures from official British and German sources, and a number of reconnaissance pictures.
The general quality of the pictures is good, although a small number do show signs of having been cleaned up, probably because the original was a small newspaper picture (I've had to use the same techniques myself).
The pictures are well organised into clear themes, half of which deal with the air war - the fighting in the air, the ground defences and the impact of the Malta blitz. Even away from this section the dominant image is one of ruined buildings, which often appear in the background of apparently unrelated pictures, making it clear just how much damage was done during the long German and Italian bombing campaigns.
This selection of pictures make it much easier to appreciate the severity of the Malta blitz, and the determination and bravery that saw the entire island awarded the George Cross.
The War in the Air
The Ground Defence
The Maltese and the Garrison
Convoys and Hope
Victory and Celebrations
Author: Jon Sutherland & Diane Canwell
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation