Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Publishers Weekly review of Operation Valuable Fiend

On April 24, 2014, Publishers Weekly reviewed Operation Valuable Fiend. Excerpts from the review follow. Here's a link to the full review on PW's website.

Operation Valuable Fiend: The CIA’s First Paramilitary Strike Against the Iron Curtain

Albert Lulushi. Skyhorse/Arcade (Perseus, dist.), $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-62872-322-9
In 1948, when Stalin expelled Yugoslavia from the Comintern after quarreling with its dictator, Marshall Tito, it left tiny, impoverished Albania isolated from other Soviet satellite states. Destabilizing its government, led by the brutal Enver Hoxha, seemed the perfect initial project for the young CIA, also formed in 1948. The result was lost in the fog of history, but businessman and Albanian immigrant Lulushi has plumbed newly accessible archives to vividly recapture the first of a long string of CIA debacles.
Recruiting volunteers from refugee camps and providing two weeks guerilla training, agents parachuted small groups of fighters into Albania in November 1950. Those not captured immediately roamed the countryside under constant pursuit. After reorganizing and improving their plans, the CIA continued their attempts, which only produced more horrific losses as infiltrators were pursued, captured, and occasionally turned against their handlers. Admitting failure, the CIA shut down the operation in 1954. Historians have blamed Soviet mole Kim Philby, who worked in British intelligence and knew of the operation, but Lulushi disagrees. His lively, detailed account of Hoxha’s viciously efficient intelligence service, the exiles’ terrible security, and CIA naïveté make a convincing case. Maps, photos, and illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014