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Hitler's Island War: The Men Who Fought for Leros

Hitler's Island War: The Men Who Fought for Leros
Julie Peakman

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In September 1943, at the height of World War II, the Aegean island of Leros became the site of the most pivotal battle of the Dodecanese campaign as the British tried, in vain, to retain control of the island. Over the course of two short months - from 15 September 1943 to 17 November 1943 - almost 1500 men lost their lives and hundreds more ended up in Prisoner-of-War camps. In this book, Julie Peakman, a modern-day resident of Leros, brings to life the story of the men caught up in the battle based on first-hand interviews and written accounts including diaries, letters and journals. She tells of the preparations of the soldiers leading up to the battle, the desperate hand-to-hand fighting, and the suffering endured from continual bombings. She also shows the extent of the men's despair at the allied surrender, the many subsequent daring escapes as well as the terrible years of incarceration for those who were captured and imprisoned. Many of the heart-rending accounts of the battle are told here for the first time, providing a unique eyewitness take on this forgotten corner of World War II.

Author Info

Julie Peakman is an historian and author. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Honorary Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London. She lives in London and on Leros.


‘The best stories are the forgotten stories; the stories of battles that have been ignored and of ordinary men and women whose voices have never been heard. Hitler’s Island War is both of these. Detailed, moving and authentic, this is a story that needs to be heard, both for its human aspect and for its strategic importance in the struggle for the Adriatic in World War II. This is required reading for military historians and for those who are fascinated by the experiences of ordinary soldiers at war, told with their own voices and through their own eyes.’ – Paddy Ashdown

‘Julie Peakman's riveting tale of the battle for Leros during the Second World War combines a precise analysis of politics and strategy with a deft sensitivity to the traumatic experiences of those war-weary men who fought and died on that island. Through their letters, diaries, and oral accounts, she provides a way for us to understand something of their fears, suffering, hopes, and, in the end, despair.’ – Joanna Bourke, author of The Story of Pain

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784532680
Publication Date: 18 Dec 2017
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 216
Width: 135
Illustrations: 25 bw in 16pp plates

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