Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45 (2011)

ISBN: 9781586488796
Published: 2011
Publisher: Public Affairs Books
Version: Hardback


ISBN: 9781610391887
Published: 2012
Publisher: Public Affairs Books (USA)
Version: Paperback

This brilliantly researched, atmospheric history of Portugal's capital city during World War II is a gripping tale of high-stakes intrigue, betrayal, double-dealing and survival. 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 powers operated openly, it was a temporary home to much of Europe's exiled royalty, over one million refugees seeking passage to the US and 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Portuguese contacts, access to records recently uncovered from Portuguese secret police and banking archives, and other unpublished documents to offer a revelatory portrait of the War’s back stage. And he tells the story of how the Portugal, a relatively poor European country trying frantically to remain neutral amidst extraordinary pressures, survived the war not only physically intact but significantly wealthier. The country's emergence as a prosperous European Union nation would be financed in part, it turns out, by a cache of Nazi gold.

Also available to buy as an audio book - listen to sample >>

For a more detailed background to the book LISBON and the exhibition LISBON: Bottleneck of Europe in WWII, go to the dedicated page on Lisbon >>


Press Acclaim

"Evocative...Lochery traces the subtlety of [Salazar's] maneuvering with clarity and precision.  Distilling an enormous quantity of research, he has rendered a fascinating and readable account of this small country's role in World War II, protected, as it was, by its wily champion"
Robert Wilson (The Wall Street Journal)

"Impressively researched a rich desscription of the dangerous, chaotic situation in wartime Lisbon."
Jill Jolliffe (The Australian)

"Intrigue, betrayal, opportunism and double dealing Lochery promises us - and his engrossing book delivers all those things and more. Lochery evokes it all with great immediacy."
Michael Kerrigan (The Scotsman)

"The twists and turns of Salazar's tight-rope diplomacy form the central thread of Neill Lochery's impressive account of wartime Lisbon and its leader... The personalities, plots and counterplots within that tale are absorbing.  The book's principal worth lies in its illumination of Salazar, who emerges from Lochery's pages as a fascinating, tireless and single-minded figure."
Roderick Bailey (Literary Review, UK)

"Vivid (and) absorbing. Evoke(s) the very special atmosphere that prevailed in wartime Lisbon."
Martin Rubin (Washington Times)

"What the British...failed to fully understand, as Neill Lochery puts it in his book, which is heavier on shadows than it is on light, was that all sectors of Portuguese society wanted to make something out of the war - there was something for everyone, and at the summit of it all stood the 'Dean of Dictators', Dr Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. This was an ugly regime, and Lochery's Lisbon, under Salazar and his secret police, an ugly city. It is not just a city of shadows, as the title suggests, but of the shadows of shadows."
David Crane (The Spectator)

"In concentrating on Portugal's role during World War II, Lochery has produced a readable, occasionally racy, but very worthwhile account of an important but little-known chapter in the greatest conflict of the 20th century."
Graham Cooke (Canberra Times, Australia)

"Reads like a real-life version of one of Ian Fleming's novels. It is a well researched and intriguing history."
Mark Lardass (Daily News, Texas, US)

"This history of wartime Lisbon recounts the city's brief era of splendor in the shadows in all its dimensions.   Vivid reporting brings alive the characters who operated in its hotel and grand houses.  Not just a colorful narrative, the story is framed by a clear sense of the global stakes involved in Portugal's fate and the author offers a clear account of how Portugal used its position to preserve its neutrality amid the power struggle of larger powers"
Michael D. Mosettig (Foreign Editor, PBS Newshour)

"Lochery brings to life the city during these years vividly and atmospherically"
Steven Carroll (The Age, Australia)

"Lochery is right: Lisbon was "like Casablanca, only 20 times more."
Brian Bethune (Macleans, Canada)

"Fascinating. Lochery shows that the Portuguese capital might have been a better setting than Casablanca for a film about refugees and wartime intrigue."
David Luhrssen (Express Milwaukee, US)

"Historian Neill Lochery brings to life a much bigger 'Casablanca' in war-torn Europe"
David M. Kinchen (Huntington News, US)

"Intriguing look at Lisbon in shadow of WWII...Lochery, a British writer, has scrupulously researched his subject..."Lisbon" is a valuable source of information about an astonishing time and place"
Adam Woog (The Seattle Times)

"A fascinating account of one of the back stages of the War. Lisbon was a hotbed of intrigue and espionage while remaining neutral as the world fought around it."
Colombia Daily News, US

"A lively, accessible and hair-raising history revealing every sordid detail of Lisbon during World War II...a time and place that many have chosen to forget in order to save face"
Shelf Awareness

"Lochery tells the gripping story of the city known as Casablanca II...engrossing and rewarding"
Publishers Weekly

"An engaging account of the city of Lisbon during World War II...Lochery chronicles the city's importance to the war on both sides...he keeps the pages turning, never allowing his narrative to become dry or difficult"

"A cloak-and-dagger atmosphere...suffuses Lochery's account...A productive archival sleuth, [he] makes original contributions to the literature of neutrality in WWII"


Also, take a look at the Talks & Events section, for a schedule of Neill's forthcoming talks and book signing appearances.  

If you would like to invite Neill to speak at a specific event, or for review copies and media requests, go to Contact and Links.

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