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Albanian Escape: The True Story of U.S. Army Nurses Behind Enemy Lines [Paperback]

Agnes Jensen Mangerich
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 14 2006
On November 8, 1943, U.S. Army nurse Agnes Jensen stepped out of a cold rain in Catania, Sicily, into a C-53 transport plane. But she and twelve other nurses never arrived in Bari, Italy, where they were to transport wounded soldiers to hospitals farther from the front lines. A violent storm and pursuit by German Messerschmitts led to a crash landing in a remote part of Albania, leaving the nurses, their team of medics, and the flight crew stranded in Nazi-occupied territory. What followed was a dangerous nine-week game of hide-and-seek with the enemy, a situation President Roosevelt monitored daily. Albanian partisans aided the stranded Americans in the search for a British Intelligence Mission, and the group began a long and hazardous journey to the Adriatic coast. During the following weeks, they crossed Albania's second highest mountain in a blizzard, were strafed by German planes, managed to flee a town moments before it was bombed, and watched helplessly as an attempt to airlift them out was foiled by Nazi forces. Albanian Escape is the suspense-filled story of the only group of Army flight nurses to have spent any length of time in occupied territory during World War II. The nurses and flight crew endured frigid weather, survived on little food, and literally wore out their shoes trekking across the rugged countryside. Thrust into a perilous situation and determined to survive, these women found courage and strength in each other and in the kindness of Albanians and guerrillas who hid them from the Germans.

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"Albanian Escape is the saga of the most exhausting 800 miles and the longest nine weeks in the lives of thirteen American Army nurses." - Stars and Stripes"

From the Publisher

"Albanian Escape is the saga of the most exhausting 800 miles and the longest nine weeks in the lives of 13 American Army nurses, their team of medics and two lieutenants and two sergeants who made up their initial four-man flight crew."--Stars and Stripes

“A significant addition to nursing history literature, reminding us that though recognition of their heroism may be short-lived, nurses serving in the military play a vital role during war.”—American Journal of Nursing

“Chronicles on an almost daily basis the activities of the American nurses and medical sergeants as they evaded the Germans, trekked mountain paths, and endured hardships before being led to the Adriatic coast and rescued.”—Army History

“An exciting, suspenseful account. American women’s memoirs of their wartime service are rare and one that is about such a remarkable adventure is virtually unique.”—Edward Coffman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
A cold drizzle was falling when the jeeps carrying thirteen U.S. Army nurses and twelve medical technical sergeants of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Squad (MAES), plus one young corporal with the 802d MAES who was catching a ride back to his assigned base, pulled onto the apron of a runway at Catania Main Airfield in Sicily. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars A story of Bravery and Survival good for all ages Nov. 29 1999
Albanian Escape was exciting, quick-paced, and inspiring. After crashing behind enemy lines, this narrative of a group of brave women, written from one surviovor's perspective, was everything an adventure story could be. An unexpected turn of events leads to a challenge, a journey behind enemy lines during World War II. Throughout, the physical strength, courage, disciple and patriotism of the servicewomen remain steady. I loved hearing about the descriptions of covert radio transmissions, the long walks in the dark and the unfamiliar food eaten gratefully by the characters. The story read like a story, yet one knew IT HAD REALLY HAPPENED, because of the threat of Hitler's armies and that there was much at stake if these people were captured. Another angle of the narrative which interested me was the fact that Albania, recently in the news because of the wars in the Balkans and Kosovo, was the poulation the nurses came in contact with. I learned a lot about the way political loyalties were very fragile and unreliable during a war. For example, In the book, there were three main groups of citizens in Albania: those loyal to the Germans, those who wanted political independence from the dictator of Albania at the time, and those who were loyal to the Allies. Therefore, the issue of who was friendly was a complicated one for the Americans. Reading about Ablania, I gained insight into current events in my own world. I recommend this book highly to readers of all ages, especially those who want to learn about what it was like during World War II.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story and A Great Read Sept. 15 1999
This book, Albanian Escape, The True Story of U.S. Army Nurses Behind Enemy Lines, by Agnes Jensen Mangerich as told to E.M. Monahan and R.L. Neidel is a great story, well written, and historically relevant today. It is relevant to today's debate on women in the military and their ability and stamina to deal with hardship and come out winners. And it certainly has relevance to today's problems in the Balkans. While the story is told from the perspective of one of the nurses, it does deal with the other 12 nurses involved, the medics and the plane crew; the Albanians willing to help them escape German-held Albania and the British SOE and American OSS officers detailed to help them escape. The authors were able to trace down actual reports from the Bari Air Base, Command Communique concerning the incident and reports from Lt. Duffy, SOE and Capt. Smith, OSS, intertwining these very well in the account. One mystery remains in this book--regarding why the pilots did not have the password for the day which prevented them from getting the information they sought from the Bari Air Field about the time they were due there and the copilots unwillingness to talk about it to Jensen when she mentioned to him that the radio operator had told her that the pilots had tried to radio Bari. I also understand that Monahan and Neidel were telling Jensen's story, but it would have been great if some of the others in the group could have been contacted to hear their perspective of this event. Unfortunately, we hear from the Veterans Admiinstration that we are losing 1000 WWII Veterans daily in the U.S. and it is not easy to find such people if they didn't keep in touch. But an awful lot of good stories are going untold. Read more ›
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By A Customer
Even tho I knew the outcome of the story, it was attention-grabbing and demanded that I read each chapter to understand the entire ordeal. The text is easy to read and the photos are very clear, though it is too bad they didn't pinpoint Bari, Italy on the map. I would definitely recommend this to nursing groups, WW II buffs, and anyone who wants to know "how it was" in the war zones. This is an especially timely release,as there is an excellent, brief history of the Balkans which explains part of what is happening in today's news. Short and an easy read, it will be a good book for reading groups. Especially any that include a mix of ages, for a better understanding of the WW II efforts.
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