The Wildest Province
In 1943, at the height of the Second World War, small teams of elite British soldiers began parachuting into the mountains of Axis-occupied Albania. Their orders were to find and arm bands of local guerillas and harass the enemy as best they could. Trying to survive in extreme conditions and formidable terrain, these young men, all members of Britain's Special Operations Executive, lived under constant threat of capture and death. Casualties were appalling. Later, survivors claimed that British communists in SOE, perhaps even colleagues of the Cambridge spies, had conspired to betray British interests.
In The Wildest Province (Jonathan Cape, 2008), Roderick Bailey draws on interviews with survivors, long-hidden diaries and declassified files to tell the full story of this remarkable corner of SOE history.
“Beautifully written and impeccably researched . . . 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” (Antony Loyd, The Times)
“An unknown but important chapter in war history, which has now found a fine chronicler” (Financial Times)
"Roderick Bailey’s first book 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" (Professor M.R.D. Foot, Literary Review)
“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 that task being done better than this” (Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph)
"Exemplary" (Max Hastings, Sunday Times)
“A tremendous work of scholarship” (Daily Telegraph)
"A tribute to average men with the guts to be extraordinary . . . The author's research is monumental" (Sunday Express)