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Book Review: An Englishman Abroad by Gianluca Barneschi


An Englishman Abroad by Gianluca Barneschi

I’ve always had a great interest in the work of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in World War Two, so eagerly awaited the opportunity to read this true story of Richard ‘Dick’ Mallaby, an SOE agent who played a key role in securing an Allied victory in Italy. I wasn’t disappointed!

Born in Sri Lanka to English parents and later raised in Italy, the 20-year-old Mallaby fled to Britain at the outbreak of war and was soon recruited by the SOE. The book covers his missions from 1943 to 1945 and focuses on his involvement in two of the most important events in the recent history of Italy – the Italian armistice and escape of King Victor Emmanuel III in 1943, and the surrender of 800,000 German and Fascist troops in 1945.

Historian Gianluca Barneschi put 20 years of research into writing this account, and it was time well spent, with plenty of new information being uncovered on a fascinating subject. This superb book opens up a window on the relatively unknown cloak-and-dagger ‘special agent’ world in Italy, and is a worth addition to anyone’s bookshelf. (Reviewed by Nigel Price)

INFO: Publisher: Osprey. ISBN: 9781472835444.  Hardback: 336 pages. RRP: £16.99.

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