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Suez Crisis 1956 (Paperback)

End of Empire and the Reshaping of the Middle East

Colour Books Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Cold War WWII

By David Charlwood
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Cold War, 1945–1991
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 95
ISBN: 9781526757081
Published: 18th November 2019


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In 1956 Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, ending nearly a century of British and French control over the crucial waterway. Ignoring U.S. diplomatic efforts and fears of a looming Cold War conflict, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden misled Parliament and the press to take Britain to war alongside France and Israel. In response to a secretly pre-planned Israeli attack in the Sinai, France and Britain intervened as ‘peacemakers’. The invasion of Egypt was supposed to restore British and French control of the canal and reaffirm Britain's flagging prestige. Instead, the operation spectacularly backfired, setting Britain and the United States on a collision course that would change the balance of power in the Middle East.

The combined air, sea and land battle witnessed the first helicopter-borne deployment of assault troops and the last large-scale parachute drop into a conflict zone by British forces. French and British soldiers fought together against the Soviet-equipped Egyptian military in a short campaign that cost the lives of thousands of soldiers, along with innocent civilians. Suez Crisis 1956 is a fast-paced, compelling short history which moves between London, Washington and Cairo to tell the story of a crisis that brought down a prime minister and heralded the end of an empire.

Overall, this is an excellent overview of the crisis, well written with plenty of illustrations.

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Balkan Wargamer

Charlwood’s book does not provide a lot of details on the actual fighting during the Crisis, but that’s not his goal. The motivations of the conspirators and the reaction of their allies is the focus and he does a very good job of providing the details of a war that shouldn’t have happened.

Modern War #47 - reviewed by John D. Burtt

As featured on Clash of Steel

Clash of Steel

The Suez Crisis is an event I honestly hadn’t paid much attention to or just glossed over it, but it was actually and important affair that would eventually bring down a British prime minister and herald the end of the British Empire really. I found the event although rather brief and involved mainly political too and froing between Britain, France, Israel and America was really over a strategic part of the world that controls the vast majority of the world’s oil and shipping. Now I have read David Charlwood’s work before such as the book 1920 (Pen and Sword) and this too is written in the same manner as that, in that it is very detailed and planned. A really easy and good book to read, and also for a small book (120 pages) which is part of a Cold War series, the photographs are excellent and many, I was surprised and impressed. I imagine you could read more into the subject if you wanted but I would say that this book covers it pretty well and is very informed. I would say this is an excellent book, and the series for students who would like a good knowledge which give you a comprehensive history.

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UK Historian

You may think that the Suez Crisis is a forgotten war from a bygone era? If so, then this book will challenge your opinion. It not only sheds light on the various sides of the conflict but also the behind the scenes wrangling and sentiments. Charlwood’s tone towards the British felt overly heavy at times but all in all the book is a well-balanced, highly interesting and valuable contribution to the reading list of any self-confessed student of history.

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The OCAD Collection

The Cold War series has become very popular and is the form of military history series that the publisher excels at. The Suez Crisis was as significant a world changer as the defeat of the Nazis in 1945. This new addition to the series has the same high quality selection of images, including full colour images, supporting concise but highly informative text. – Very Highly Recommended.

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As featured on Argunners


'Windsor writer launches book'

Berkshire Life, January 2020

Author article on Military History Now

Military History Now

As feature onthe Old Barbed Wire blog

Old Barbed Wire Blog

Click here to listen to author interview

NOTE: set cursor to 2:16:20

BBC Radio Berkshire with presenter Sarah Walker, 25th November 2019

About David Charlwood

David Charlwood obtained a First Class Honours Degree in history from Royal Holloway, University of London, and has worked as an international journalist and in publishing. His historical research has been published in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and he has been a contributing historian for BBC radio. He is the author of four popular history books, including the acclaimed 1920: A Year of Global Turmoil.

Britain and France land airborne forces at Port Said in Egypt

5th November 1956

Britain and France land airborne forces at Port Said in Egypt, escalating the Suez Crisis

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