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Albanian Assignment: The Memoir of an SOE Agent in World War Two (The Extraordinary Life of Colonel David Smiley Book 1) Kindle Edition
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- Publication date : August 2, 2020
- File size : 1019 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 216 pages
- Publisher : Sapere Books (August 2, 2020)
- ASIN : B088G15V81
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Language: : English
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #33,026 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Smiley gives the reader a first hand account of the challenges and dangers of running special operations in enemy held territory. A job made more challenging for Smiley because he had to deal with three rival and ultimately warring resistance groups: Zogists, nationalists, and the Hoxa led partisans who were more interested in fighting the first two groups than fighting the occupying Italians and Germans.
Smiley's account of how Hoxa's partisans were able to come out on top is an interesting side bar story of a communist sympathizer in Smiley's chain of command who successfully frustrated the efforts of Smiley and other operatives to get the true facts before the policy makers. As a result, Hoxa's partisans were able to obtain arms from the British which the partisans used to kill the Zogists and nationalists. Smiley's recounting of the little known and now all but forgotten effort by the British in the immediate post-war era to overthrow Hoxa by landing trained Albanian freedom fighters (many of whom had fought with the Zogists or nationalists during the war) in Albania is itself an interesting story made more so because of the operation's apparent betrayal by a mole in MI-6. That betrayal led to the tragic death of most of the freedom fighters shortly after their landing and allowed a brutal communist regime to consolidate its power and rule Albania until Hoxa's death in 1985.
This is an outstanding book that is a must read for those interested in military/special operations history and those interested in the history of immediate post-war era.
It contains stories of hair-raising escapes, dangerous journeys, battles, and local diplomatic efforts. The writer has a poor opinion of some of the partisans he dealt with, as the British had food and supplies stolen, yet he also had great respect for individuals he came to know.
You can tell this account was written by a professional soldier as all these adventures are recounted in a matter-of fact way with little embellishment. He refers to his own heroics, such as laying mines and blowing up bridges, as matters of duty, not heroism.
He was also in a delicate position, having to maneuver among the different factions in Albania who disliked each other and wanted to run the country after the war. Actually, a civil war did ensue and several of the leaders he dealt with rose to influential positions in the Balkans.
This is a book well worth reading for those interested in covert operations during World War II. There should be a movie!
Top reviews from other countries
All military staff are taught to ‘read and write’, by which is meant to create clear, concise, comprehensive, complete and accurate reports fit for use in future strategic planning. To these Smiley could add detailed, colourful and reflective personal diaries, and support from surviving contacts both from among former SOE companions and from Albanians and their families. That these friendships survived tells a great deal about the man. His writing in the memoirs is far from clinical, however, as he brings a compassion and shrewdness of judgment in his story-telling, laced with a maverick’s ingenuity and occasional humour. I first read this book when it was published in 1984; rereading it three and a half decades later I find it as fresh, informative and moving as I did then. What happened in the Balkan wars still influences today’s events, and Smiley’s descriptions of the descent into chaos and distrust is a vivid warning for today’s readers and politicians.