A British Governor of Malta puts his private thoughts on paper and gives his views on Malta and the Maltese. He is the only Governor and Commander-in-Chief to have done so in detailed Diaries spanning four years. This makes them unusual if not unique.
General Sir Charles Bonham-Carter did not always get it right, and some of his views will be contested; but he worked hard to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of the people, an to break down barriers and racial inequality. In an incisive and objective Introduction John Manduca attempts to place the Diaries in a broader and sharper perspective.
The Bonham-Carter Diarie contain astute, frank and sometimes caustic comments on the men and women whom he met and with whom he worked. Mgr Gonzi’s campaign to succeed Archbishop Maurus Caruana, the deeply divided political parties, the long-drawn out ‘language question’, the state of Malta’s defences and Fascist activities, are all scrutinised and analysed. The civil service, the army, the judiciary, women’s rights and the police come in for penetrating comment. So do the ambitions of the Axis Dictators, Hitler and Mussolini, and Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement.
The Diaries afford an exceptional insight into events in Europe in the 1930s, at the time when over the whole decade ‘there hung like a darkening cloud, the spectre of war’.