Spring 1941 was a high point for the Axis war machine. Western Europe
was conquered; southeastern Europe was falling, Great Britain on its
heels; and Rommel's Afrika Korps was freshly arrived to drive on the
all-important Suez Canal.
In Blood, Oil and the Axis, historian John Broich tells the
story of Iraq and the Levant during this most pivotal time of the war.
The browbeaten Allied forces had one last remaining hope for turning the
war in their favor: the Axis running through its fuel supply. But when
the Golden Square-four Iraqi generals allegiant to the Axis cause-staged
a coup in Iraq, elevating a pro-German junta and prompting military
cooperation between Vichy French-occupied Syria and Lebanon and the
Axis, disaster loomed.
Blood, Oil and the Axis follows those who participated in
the Allies' frantic, improvised, and unlikely response to this dire
threat: Palestinian and Jordanian Arabs, Australians, American and
British soldiers, Free French Foreign Legionnaires, and Jewish
Palestinians, all who shared a desperate, bloody purpose in quashing the
formation of an Axis state in the Middle East. Memorable figures of
this makeshift alliance include Jack Hasey, a young American who ran off
to fight with the Free French Foreign Legion before his own country
entered the war; Freya Stark, a famous
travel-writer-turned-government-agent; and even Roald Dahl, a
twenty-three-year-old Royal Air Force recruit (and future author of
beloved children's books).
Taking the reader on a tour of cities and landscapes grimly familiar
to today's reader-from a bombed-out Fallujah, to Baghdad, to Damascus-Blood, Oil and the Axis
is poised to become the definitive chronicle of the Axis's menacing
play for Iraq and the Levant in 1941 and the extraordinary alliance that