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.
"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
"Examines how women avoided capture and successfully negotiated harsh, unknown terrain and foreign cultures in a politically chaotic region." -- Choice
"Illustrates the bravery and courage of the Albanian Underground during the Second World War in it assistance to downed American flyers.... Sheds light on a theater of operations that has received very little coverage by historians in the United States." -- Journal of Slavic Military Studies
"An exciting account of American women's memoirs of their tremendous wartime service to their try." -- McCormick (SC)Messenger
"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
"Agnes Mangerich's Albanian Escape, which illustrates the bravery and courage of the Albanian underground during the Second World War in its assistance to downed American flyers.... [It] is a story that had to be told for it deals with a theater of operations that has received very limited coverage by Second World War historians. Unfortunately, due to the onset of the Cold War, the heroics of the Albanian underground have largely been forgotten. Hopefully, Mangerich's work will not be the last on the war in the Balkans." -- Leo J. Daughterty, World War II Quarterly