An in-depth look at a crucial, little-known World War II episode—the failed Allied policy in Yugoslavia and its ramifications in the Balkans and beyond
Winston Churchill called it one of his biggest wartime failures—the shift of British and U.S. support from Yugoslavia's Draža Mihailovic and his royalist resistance movement to Tito and his communist Partisans. This book illuminates the complex reasons behind that failure through the incredible story of what has been called the greatest rescue of Allied airmen from behind enemy lines in World War II history, a rescue executed, incredibly, with minimal official support from the United States and none such support from Great Britain.
Written with the drama of a novel and the insight of serious history, Shadows on the Mountain is essential reading for anyone interested in World War II, European history, and the Balkans.
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In Shadows on the Mountain, former Balkan reporter Marcia Kurapovna reveals the unknown, unheralded, and misunderstood story of what Winston Churchill called one of his biggest wartime failures—the shift of British and U.S. support from Yugoslavia's Draža Mihailoviç and his royalist resistance movement to Communist Partisans under the command of Josip Broz Tito. This book illuminates the complex reasons behind that failure through the incredible story of what has come to be considered the greatest rescue of Allied airmen from behind enemy lines in World War II, a rescue executed, incredibly, with minimal official support from the United States and no such support from Great Britain.
At the same time, Kurapovna takes into account all sides of this civil war conflict, including the heroism of the Yugoslav Partisans, the origins of the Croat nationalists, the unsung, outstanding sacrifices of the British "SOE" in Yugoslavia, Serb against Serb intrigue, as well as the German point of view. Among the unforgettable figures you'll meet in this thrilling, fast-paced history is Major Linn M. "Slim" Farish, known to his OSS compatriots, with both awe and humor, as "Lawrence of Yugoslavia." Spending months at a time criss-crossing Yugoslavia's rugged and treacherous mountain ranges on foot and horseback, he slipped behind enemy lines and back again in search of downed Allied airmen, hundreds of whom he led back to safety, aided by Macedonian Partisans. Even Farish's boss, legendary daredevil "Wild Bill" Donovan, worried that Farish might be taking too many risks.
It was Mihailoviç, however, who accomplished the central achievement in this amazing true story. While resisting the Nazis and fighting brutal civil wars against Tito and the Croatian Ustaše, he organized and executed the rescue of more than five hundred Allied airmen from behind enemy lines.
Marcia Kurapovna presents a fascinating account of the highly complicated and bitterly successful campaign to undermine Mihailoviç's standing with the British and the Americans, a campaign that was part Communist infiltration of and influence on British intelligence, part the renegade attitudes of the Serbian Chetniks themselves, and part gross misinformation, deliberate or accidental—all of it leading to devastatingly tragic consequences. She also tells the heartbreaking story of Mihailoviç's post-war trial and execution by firing squad and reveals why the United States, after awarding him the Legion of Merit posthumously in 1948, declared the award classified information. The award was made public in 1967 through the efforts of a U.S. congressman, and was presented to Mihailoviç's seventy-four-year-old daughter.
You may never have heard of any of the heroes you'll discover in Shadows on the Mountain, but once you meet them, you'll never forget their courage, ingenuity, and devotion to duty.From the Back Cover:
A powerful true story of heroism, triumph, and betrayal
Why would a former U.S. Army Air Corps major spend decades of his post-war life trying to convince Congress, the State Department, and numerous presidents to defend, and later to honor posthumously, a man who was convicted of war crimes and executed by firing squad under British orders and with American compliance? The answer to this strange question takes you deep inside war-torn Yugoslavia as hard-pressed resistance groups battle the Nazis and each other, and downed Allied airmen struggle desperately to avoid capture and find a way home. Shadows on the Mountain tells one of the most gripping, heroic, and tragic war stories you'll ever read.
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