The Viney Agency


Robert LymanRobert Lyman was born in New Zealand and educated at Scotch College, Melbourne, Australia.  He was an officer in the British Army for twenty years, being commissioned into the Light Infantry from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in April 1982.  He has a First Class Honours degree in History from the University of York; Masters degrees in Strategic Studies (University College of Wales, Aberystwyth), War Studies (King’s College, London) and Military Studies (Cranfield).  He is a graduate of the Joint Services Command and Staff College.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2009.  A critically acclaimed historian, his interest to date has been the experience of both warfare and of military command during the Second World War, producing narrative studies that explore campaigns in the Middle East, Far East and North Africa.

His Under A Darkening Sky - Americans at War, 1939-1941 was published by Pegasus in the US in 2018.

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Robert Lyman A vivid social history of the American expatriate experience in Europe between 1939 and 1941, as the Nazi menace brings a shadow over the continent, heralding the storms of war.

A poignant and powerful portrait of Europe in the years between 1939 and 1941―as the Nazi menace marches toward the greatest man-made catastrophe the world has ever experienced―Under A Darkening Sky focuses on a diverse group of expatriate Americans. Told through the eyes and observations of these characters caught up in these seismic events, the story unfolds alongside a war that slowly drags a reluctant United States into its violent embrace. 

This vibrant narrative takes these dramatic personalities and evokes the engagement between Europe and a reluctant America from the September 3rd, 1939―when Britain declares war―through the tragedy of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In a distinctively energetic storyline, Robert Lyman brings together a wide range of encounters, conversations, and memories. It includes individuals from across the social spectrum, from Josephine Baker to the young Americans who volunteered to fight in the RAF, as part of the famous ‘Eagle Squadrons’.

Hundreds of young Americans―like the aces James Goodison, Art Donahue, and the wealthy playboy Billy Fiske, who was the first American volunteer in the RAF to die in action during the Battle of Britain―smuggled themselves into Canada so that they could volunteer for the cockpits of Spitfires and Hurricanes, as they flew against the deadly Luftwaffe over ever-darkening skies in London. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Under a Darkening Sky (Pegasus, US 2018); Among the Headhunters (Da Capo, Hachette USA 2016); The Real X-Men: The Heroic Story of the Underwater War 1942-1945, (Quercus, 2015); Jail Busters: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho (Quercus, 2014; Ixelles,France 2014); Into the Jaws of Death, Transworld, 2013. Operation Suicide: The Remarkable story of the Cockleshell Raid (Quercus,2012; Ixelles, France 2012); Japan’s Last Bid for Glory- The Invasion of India 1944 (Pen & Sword, 2011). The Longest Siege: Tobruk and the Battle for Africa, 1941Pan Macmillan, 2009. The Generals: From Defeat to Victory Leadership in Asia 1941-45 Constable and Robinson, 2008.Slim, Master of War, Constable and Robinson, 2004. First Victory, Britain’s Forgotten Struggle in the Middle East, 1941Constable and Robinson, 2006. Iraq 1941: The Battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah and Baghdad, Osprey Publishing, 2006. Contributing chapter to The Challenges of High Command: The British Experience Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. Forward to David Rooney’s Stilwell The Patriot, Greenhill Books, 2005.