In 1943, small teams of elite British soldiers began parachuting into the mountains of Axis-occupied Albania. They were members of Britain's Special Operations Executive, and their task was to find and arm bands of local guerillas and harass the Axis as best they could. None had been to Albania before, or knew what awaited them.
Trying to survive in extreme conditions and formidable terrain, these young Britons lived in constant danger of capture and death, and were plagued by illness, lice and frostbite. Casualties were appalling and most guerillas keener to kill each other than fight Italians and Germans. In his extraordinary new book, Roderick Bailey draws on interviews with survivors, long-hidden diaries and recently declassified files to tell the full story of this remarkable corner of SOE history and finally settle the question of whether or not British communists in SOE, perhaps even colleagues of the Cambridge spies, had conspired to betray British interests.
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What makes Bailey's book so readable is not only his grasp of strategy but his hold on tactics and personalities.... The Wildest Province...establishes him as a modern historian of great skill... Anyone interested in human nature under stress, or problems of counter-insurgency, or sheer adventure, will read it with profit - Literary Review
This is a gripping account of two wars...a rich and rounded account...he has mastered a mass of complex material, and analysed it with great clarity and fairness...it is hard to imagine the task being done better than this... History more breathtaking than any thriller - Sunday Telegraph
Reminiscent of John Buchan and The Thirty-Nine Steps... Extreme stuff - Daily Mail
Beautifully written and impeccably researched... a compelling work and by far the most comprehensive yet undertaken on the subject...The Wildest Province is a must-have acquisition for anyone remotely interested in the region, the war, its politics or the experiences of the men who fought there. I devoured the book quickly - The Times
A tribute to average men with the guts to be extraordinary... The author's research is monumental - Sunday Express
An admirable work of erudition - Scotland on Sunday
A tremendous work of scholarship - Daily Telegraph
Thanks to the excellent investigative work of Roderick Bailey we now have this gripping account of the British soldiers who fought with the partisans in occupied Albania... tells in pacy details the considerable hardships in their struggle to survive... this is an unknown but important chapter in war history, which has now found a fine chronicler' - Financial Times
Authoritative... More than a decade's study and an impressive range of archival and oral sources has allowed him to weave a complex but engrossing story - Times Literary Supplement
[Bailey's] accomplished account makes grim reading - Sunday Times
Born in 1974, Roderick Bailey is a graduate of Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities and a former Alistair Horne Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford. His PhD looked at SOE operations in the occupied Balkans and in 2003 he was appointed to run a major project to acquire new material for the Imperial War Museum's SOE collections. He is also the author of Forgotten Voices of D-Day and Forgotten Voices of the Secret War.