Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Washington Times Review Of 'Savage Will: The Daring Escape Of Americans Trapped Behind Nazi Lines'

My review of Timothy M. Gay's Savage Will: The Daring Escape of Americans Trapped Behind Nazi Lines appeared in today's Washington Times.   

Mr. Gay’s “Savage Will” begins in a dramatic fashion with a 23-year-old British Special Operations Executive (SOE) officer in Egypt named Jon Naar receiving a surreal late-night telephone call.

“‘Captain Naar here,’ he answered, in his brisk British public school way,” Mr. Gay writes. “The connection was remarkably free of static. A female operator said, “Please hold for the president.” A moment later, there was no mistaking the patrician Yankee accent, so famous from radio broadcasts and movie newsreels.”

The caller was President Franklin Roosevelt, and he demanded to know why it was taking so long to get the nurses out of Albania. Seven decades later, Mr. Naar, at 93, still recalled the telephone call.

“Before I could explain the logistical complexities of trying to extricate 30 Americans in the dead of winter from a mountainous country occupied by three divisions of the Wehrmacht and several brigades of pro-Nazi Albanian collaborators entirely in control of all the major roads and airfields, the president said ‘Captain, if any one of those girls is so much as touched, there’ll be serious consequences!’

“After a slight pause, FDR snapped, ‘They are the flower of American womanhood. They must be saved at all costs!’”

As this was one of the rare cases of women being trapped behind enemy lines, the British SOE and the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), along with the Allied air forces, put together a desperate rescue mission to get the nurses and medics out of Albania. Looking over their shoulders with impatience were FDR and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

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