Reviews for Secret Rescue : An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines


Booklist Reviews 2013 May #2
In 1943, the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron crash-landed during a storm in Nazi-occupied Albania. They were part of a new army program to transport sick and wounded soldiers to hospitals near the front lines in Italy. The 13 female nurses and 17 men who survived the crash were faced with ensuring their own survival in hostile territory, brutal weather, and mountainous terrain, under the constant threat of Nazi capture. With the help of villagers, Albanian resisters, and British officers, 27 of the survivors trekked more than 600 miles for 62 days before they were rescued. Three nurses who'd been separated from the group were also eventually rescued after spending 135 harrowing days in Albania. Lineberry draws on interviews, diaries, and archival material to recount an amazing WWII survival-and-rescue story that had remained untold by the military and the survivors themselves, who were fearful of the cost to those who helped them. Their secret was kept until the fall of communism in Albania in 1990, when their story of courage and endurance could finally be revealed. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
A journalist unearths the story of a crash landing in war-torn Albania during World War II. A daring new program of air evacuation technicians, stationed near war zones in order to lift the wounded quickly to safety, the Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron was launched by Maj. Gen. David N.W. Grant in 1942. Since they had flight training, former stewardesses were enlisted as volunteer medics and nurses. Former National Geographic Magazine Europe editor Lineberry looks in particular at the 807th MAETS, consisting of 25 female nurses, 24 medics and other enlisted men from all over the country. They were assembled at Bowman Field in Louisville, Ky., for training before being shipped off in mid-August 1943. A squadron of nurses and medics traveled from their headquarters on November 8 to gather awaiting patients in Bari and Grottaglie, but they were forced down in bad weather and under attack from German fighter planes. Not only did the squadron land in German-occupied Albanian territory, but the group soon realized they had become embroiled in a civil war. There ensued many weeks of near-comical confusion among the partisans hoping to hide the Americans amid an atmosphere of mutual suspicion; there was scant food, little bathing, rugged conditions and terrible exposure. Indeed, three of the nurses had gotten separated from the rest while being housed locally, and these did not join the general rescue once the larger group reached the Adriatic coast after 62 days in Albania. Although U.S. officials keenly tracked the whereabouts of the squadron, the news of the rescue was kept quiet and the bravery of the participants not acknowledged until much later; Lineberry able captures it here. A sometimes dry but proficient, detailed and tearless account. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Express Reviews
Lineberry (former Europe editor, National Geographic) details the 1943 journey--and rescue--of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron (MAETS). Leaving from Italy, this group of almost 30 American nurses and medics, on their way to the front lines to evacuate wounded troops, became lost in a storm, their plane crashing in Nazi-occupied Albania. For the next 62 days, the group survived with the help of the Albanian people, evading the Nazis, navigating an Albanian civil war, and walking hundreds of miles through mountainous terrain and inclement weather. Drawing on recent interviews with the sole surviving member of the group, previously classified information, archives, and published and unpublished memoirs, Lineberry deftly describes the Americans' struggles yet doesn't stoop to unnecessary drama or emotion. She shows the group's bravery but also their frustrations, despair, and debilitating lack of understanding of Albanian culture. Verdict Readers who were fascinated by Elizabeth M. Norman's We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese will also be attracted to this book. Judith Barger's recent title Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II includes a short chapter on this episode.--Maria Bagshaw, Elgin Community Coll. Lib., IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 May #3

National Geographic staff writer Lineberry divulges a 70-year old WWII secret that ends happily. In November 1943 a US transport plane with 30 medics, plus 12 nurses from the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, got lost en route to Bari from Sicily. Air-lifting was in its infancy with personnel traveling on transport planes that converted into ambulances on return flights. Due to inclement conditions, the plane crashed on the wrong side of the Adriatic Sea in German-occupied Al-bania. Rather than being rescuers, suddenly they were in need of rescue. For 60 days the group trekked through remote Balkan villages following local guides named Qani, Ismail, and Haki in search of Brit-ish comrades. Battling vermin, hunger, thirst, and Nazis as meticulously recounted by Lineberry, they trudged more than 650 miles and miraculously made it home. Yet these members of the 807th kept mum until 2011 when the author interviewed the only living survivor, 89-year old Harold Hayes, at a retirement home in Oregon. With a cast of characters that includes British star Anthony Quayle as an undercover agent, survivalists and history buffs will relish the daily escapades of this heroic American contingent. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

National Geographic staff writer Lineberry divulges a 70-year old WWII secret that ends happily. In November 1943 a US transport plane with 30 medics, plus 12 nurses from the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, got lost en route to Bari from Sicily. Air-lifting was in its infancy with personnel traveling on transport planes that converted into ambulances on return flights. Due to inclement conditions, the plane crashed on the wrong side of the Adriatic Sea in German-occupied Al-bania. Rather than being rescuers, suddenly they were in need of rescue. For 60 days the group trekked through remote Balkan villages following local guides named Qani, Ismail, and Haki in search of Brit-ish comrades. Battling vermin, hunger, thirst, and Nazis as meticulously recounted by Lineberry, they trudged more than 650 miles and miraculously made it home. Yet these members of the 807th kept mum until 2011 when the author interviewed the only living survivor, 89-year old Harold Hayes, at a retirement home in Oregon. With a cast of characters that includes British star Anthony Quayle as an undercover agent, survivalists and history buffs will relish the daily escapades of this heroic American contingent. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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