Mediterranean Assignment (1943)


"The British Were Left Weak and Alone to Face the Fascist Jackal"

McMillan, Richard. Mediterranean Assignment. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1943.

Octavo. Hardcover. 1st Edition.

First edition of a war correspondent's detailed recounting of his time in North Africa and the Balkans from 1940-42 as well as his understanding of the roots of the conflict. Later retitled (and better known as) Miracle at El Alamein, McMillan's Mediterranean Assignment concerns his experiences as a British journalist in North Africa and the Balkans between 1940 and 1942. With World War II raging, McMillan had unique access to the British Expeditionary Forces and accompanied the British as they fought across Europe and North Africa. McMillan was particularly interested in the strategy of Field-Marshal Montgomery and his victories against Rommel. Mediterranean Assignment thus includes McMillan's historical understanding and the way he felt that informed the conflict However, McMillan also details his time in aircraft and on ships and his impressions of the everyday fighting men he came to know. The result is a unique work that combines commentary and scholarship with a journalistic zeal. Bookplate of Ruth Williams Ricci, an American volunteer nurse in the Italo-Ethiopian War (1935-1936); a photographer and journalist in North Africa (1936-1939); and a member of the Women's Army Corps (i.e. a WAC) during the Second World War. Ricci (presumably) has extensively annotated the first half of the text in pencil. Ricci's opinions were often questionable--her ideas were informed by her time nursing on behalf of Italy and she had much to say about British hypocrisy--but she also had the first-person experience to contradict many of the claims McMillan makes in the text. Also present is a laid-in collection of clippings on World War II military matters, likely collected by Ricci as well. Book fine, dust jacket with only light wear mainly to extremities. A near-fine copy.