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Shadows on the Mountain: The Allies, the Resistance, and the Rivalries that Doomed WWII Yugoslavia 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470084564
ISBN-10: 0470084561
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In Shadows on the Mountain, former Balkan reporter Marcia Kurapovna reveals the unknown, unheralded, and misunderstood story of what Winston Churchill called one of his biggest wartime failures—the shift of British and U.S. support from Yugoslavia's Draža Mihailoviç and his royalist resistance movement to Communist Partisans under the command of Josip Broz Tito. This book illuminates the complex reasons behind that failure through the incredible story of what has come to be considered the greatest rescue of Allied airmen from behind enemy lines in World War II, a rescue executed, incredibly, with minimal official support from the United States and no such support from Great Britain.

At the same time, Kurapovna takes into account all sides of this civil war conflict, including the heroism of the Yugoslav Partisans, the origins of the Croat nationalists, the unsung, outstanding sacrifices of the British "SOE" in Yugoslavia, Serb against Serb intrigue, as well as the German point of view. Among the unforgettable figures you'll meet in this thrilling, fast-paced history is Major Linn M. "Slim" Farish, known to his OSS compatriots, with both awe and humor, as "Lawrence of Yugoslavia." Spending months at a time criss-crossing Yugoslavia's rugged and treacherous mountain ranges on foot and horseback, he slipped behind enemy lines and back again in search of downed Allied airmen, hundreds of whom he led back to safety, aided by Macedonian Partisans. Even Farish's boss, legendary daredevil "Wild Bill" Donovan, worried that Farish might be taking too many risks.

It was Mihailoviç, however, who accomplished the central achievement in this amazing true story. While resisting the Nazis and fighting brutal civil wars against Tito and the Croatian Ustaše, he organized and executed the rescue of more than five hundred Allied airmen from behind enemy lines.

Marcia Kurapovna presents a fascinating account of the highly complicated and bitterly successful campaign to undermine Mihailoviç's standing with the British and the Americans, a campaign that was part Communist infiltration of and influence on British intelligence, part the renegade attitudes of the Serbian Chetniks themselves, and part gross misinformation, deliberate or accidental—all of it leading to devastatingly tragic consequences. She also tells the heartbreaking story of Mihailoviç's post-war trial and execution by firing squad and reveals why the United States, after awarding him the Legion of Merit posthumously in 1948, declared the award classified information. The award was made public in 1967 through the efforts of a U.S. congressman, and was presented to Mihailoviç's seventy-four-year-old daughter.

You may never have heard of any of the heroes you'll discover in Shadows on the Mountain, but once you meet them, you'll never forget their courage, ingenuity, and devotion to duty.

From the Back Cover

A powerful true story of heroism, triumph, and betrayal

Why would a former U.S. Army Air Corps major spend decades of his post-war life trying to convince Congress, the State Department, and numerous presidents to defend, and later to honor posthumously, a man who was convicted of war crimes and executed by firing squad under British orders and with American compliance? The answer to this strange question takes you deep inside war-torn Yugoslavia as hard-pressed resistance groups battle the Nazis and each other, and downed Allied airmen struggle desperately to avoid capture and find a way home. Shadows on the Mountain tells one of the most gripping, heroic, and tragic war stories you'll ever read.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470084561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470084564
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From beginning to end "Shadows on the Mountain" is steeped in Yugoslavian history. Marcia Christoff Kurapovna, former Balkan Reporter, provides an excellent source of reading material for all OSS enthusiasts!

This exquisite work is accompanied by biographical vignettes of key figures whose undaunted heroism bring deep appreciation of who they were, what they accomplished in the preservation of a nation, and why insurgents revered and feared their very existence. The material may be a challenge for the novice but once entrenched, it is a tremendous aid for the reader to understand the culture and mindset of the Yugoslavian people and the antipathies that existed between the Croats (Partisans) and Serbs (Chetniks) long before the war with Germany.

Having set the stage, this book is a compilation of carefully documented clandestine operations of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and Office of Strategic Service (OSS) in Yugoslavia during World War II. The author exposes an atmosphere of mistrust, deceit and internal political conflicts; a growing challenge that both agencies struggled with throughout the war while trying to achieve their objective.

In great detail Kurapovna reveals the missions that influenced the decision of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin at the Tehran Conference to sacrifice ties with the living legacy of Draza Mihailovic, leader of the Serbian Chetniks in exchange for the full support of the Communist Partisan movement of Josep Broz, an opportunist known by his nom de guerre as Marshall Tito. Churchill would later regret this total shift of support calling it "one of his biggest wartime failures." Kurapovna surmises it as "...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written story of how communist influences within British government and even our State department sold down the river those who opposed their goal of Soviet domination. Think how they tried to romanticize Che Guiveria. This fellow was killed by the British in order to allow Tito to win then forgotten. Set in WWII for the most part the author does a very good job enlightening readers to little understood Serbia and the efforts of Milhailovic to hold off the Germans and Russian efforts at domination. She exposes the distortions put out by rival Toto and British sympathizers against the Chetniks. Good read!
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Format: Hardcover
Introduction

Shadows on the Mountain by Marcia Christoff Kurapovna is a new reevaluation and re-examination of the role of Draza Mihailovich in World War II. It is a reappraisal and a new analysis of the historical record and the factual documents in the light of all that has happened since World War II. It is a rethink of Draza Mihailovich, a rethinking of his place in the history of World War II and his role in the Yugoslav resistance movement. For this reason alone, it is an invaluable addition to our understanding of World War II.

In the Preface, she noted that Serbia's "modern history may be read as an indictment of the West's own troubled twentieth-century identity." She noted that anyone writing about the history of Serbia "must remain constantly on the defensive." Regardless of what position one takes, one will be tested to see if the view conforms to the 1990s paradigms established for any analysis. One is either pro-Serb or one maintains the accepted dogma regarding Serbia. She stated that if one wants to examine Serbian history "from an objective, respectful distance" or with "fairness and an appreciation for its courageous contributions to the military victories of the West during World Wars I and II" one will inevitably be labeled a pro-Serb apologist and pro-Serb nationalist, "as a kind of agent for Europe's favorite rogue state." This is the dilemma faced by anyone writing anything on the Balkans that is objective and which strays from the etched-in-stone dogma and orthodoxy. Like in medieval times, one will be branded a heretic, an apologist, and a genocide denier, a revisionist, a pro-Serb propagandist and enabler.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a scholarly yet highly readable book re the failed allied policy in Serbia during WWII which ultimately affected the entire European Continent. The in-depth research, with footnotes equally fascinating, recount the tragic consequences of the OSS-SOE manipulated intelligence that set off a series of events leading to the death of the innocent and the spread of Communism into Germany.

Within this dramatic series of events is also the story of the incredible rescue of 500 American airmen shot down by the enemy and rescued in the mountains of Serbia by Mihailovic and his men alone. This is an absorbing book, especially for the WWII aficionado and is highly readable. It's tragic ending on so many levels leaves the reader wary and wiser.

The harsh review by Pitcavage is yet another attempt by die-hard Tito-ites to undermine any objective effort to write about the situation in Serbia during WWII.
This masterful book, rich in detail and research has a broader theme, however: the failure of allies to sufficiently and effectively assess their sources and make well informed decisions in the time of crisis. As is noted, even Churchill called the shift from Mihailovic to Tito "one of his biggest wartime failures."

In addition, Kurapovna's book is written with authority and objectivity and elegance. An entire chapter is devoted to Tito and the efforts of the Partisans are reinforced and substantial throughout the book. In addition the the sources and footnotes (compelling reading on their own)provide assurance that the book is a serious, successful achievement and one of the best accounts ever written about this phase of the War.
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