Sunday, September 11, 2016

Donovan's Devils Review in Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 60, No. 2


A review published in the Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf  section of Studies in Intelligence (Vol. 60, No. 2, June 2016) calls Donovan's Devils "a well-documented, superbly written account of how OSS established the model for today's Special Forces."

The review is at this link and is excerpted below.

Intelligence in Public Literature

Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf

Compiled and reviewed by Hayden Peake

Donovan’s Devils: OSS Commandos Behind Enemy Lines—Europe, World War II, by Albert Lulushi (Arcade Publishing, 2016) 367, endnotes bibliography, photos, index.
The exploits of the OSS have been the subject of numerous histories, memoirs, and movies. The best-known tell stories of espionage behind enemy lines, Jedburgh teams in France, and counterintelligence operations in Europe. Less frequently mentioned are the OSS special operations groups commonly called OGs. Donovan’s Devils gives them long overdue attention.
The concept of a special operations capability was part of Donovan’s vision for US intelligence even before the creation of OSS in 1942. But it was not as readily accepted by his military masters as were the analysis and espionage functions of the OSS mission. Initial opposition to OGs came from military traditionalists who had no experience with elite units staffed with uniformed personnel and part of a civilian organization operating behind enemy lines, even when subject to the approval of theater commanders.
After reviewing the historical precedents for special operation-type units, intelligence historian Albert Lulushi recounts how Donovan overcame significant bureaucratic obstacles from senior war department generals, during wartime, to create the OGs. Donovan’s main argument was that the ad hoc OG he had created—on his own authority—to support Operation TORCH—the invasion of Northern Africa—proved valuable, and General Marshall said so in writing. (34)
In December 1942, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued directive 155/4/D that, among other things, authorized the OGs. A typical OG unit contained four officers and 30 enlisted men. In addition to basic military skills, OG members needed language abilities for the target area, commando training (parachute, hand-to-hand combat), and signal communications proficiency. They were trained at the Congressional Country Club outside Washington, DC, and at various military facilities. The first group was ready for deployment in mid-1943 to support Operation HUSKY, the invasion of Sicily. Results were modest but encouraging.
Lulushi describes OG operations, problems, and successes, in Italy, Corsica, France, and the Balkan states. In each country this included rescuing POWs from behind enemy lines. He devotes particularly detailed attention to Operation GINNY, an ill-fated mission involving an OG unit assigned to blow up a railway tunnel on the Genoa-La Spezia line. After several failed attempts, they tried again in March 1944, which was another failure, but on this attempt 15 members were captured. When the German commander in the area invoked Hitler’s directive to execute all captured saboteurs without trial, they were shot and buried in common graves. After the war, the Germans involved were tried and convicted—the commander was hanged—in the first war crimes trial, setting an important precedent for the subsequent Nuremberg Trials.
Donovan’s Devils is a well-documented, superbly written account of how OSS established the model for today’s Special Forces. As Jack Devine notes in his back-cover comments, it is a “must-read book for any student of OSS and the general public.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

BBC Radio 4 Documentary: The Albanian Operation

As part of BBC's Cold War series, security correspondent Gordon Corera hosts a 30-minute broadcast on the CIA attempts to subvert communist Albania in the late 1940s - early 1950s.

I was interviewed for this broadcast and my book, Operation Valuable Fiend, was used as background information for the radio-documentary.

The full broadcast is on the BBC Radio 4 website.
http://bbc.in/29kVKFW




Sunday, June 12, 2016

TJHSST Book Fair and B-Fest Teen Book Festival

I volunteered today at the book fair benefiting the Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology PTSA.

I am particularly thankful to all those who participated in our activities on this sad day, June 12, 2016, on the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub terror attacks. They don't deter us from living our lives and cherishing our children.

The book fair continues online from 06/12/16 to 06/17/16. Visit bn.com/bookfairs and support us by entering Bookfair ID 11847191 at checkout.

Conducting the B-Creative Workshop with local teens.
The book fair coincided with Barnes & Noble's nationwide B-Fest Teen Book Festival. As part of the festival, I hosted a special event for teens called B-Creative.

Some very bright kids attended this story development workshop created by Adaptive Studios and learned how to write a log line, create a spark page for their story, and reimagine popular characters.

Speaking to readers of Donovan's Devils.
I also hosted a discussion and signing of my books, Donovan's Devils and Operation Valuable Fiend. It was nice to meet everyone who stopped by and I enjoyed the lively discussion, especially with family members of the Italian OGs. who play a prominent role in Donovan's Devils.



Monday, June 6, 2016

Book Discussion and Signing at Barnes & Noble Tyson's Corner Center

Sunday, June 12, 2016, 3:00-5:00 PM

Book Discussion and Signing at Barnes & Noble in Tyson's Corner Center.
I will be discussing and signing Donovan's Devils and Operation Valuable Fiend at:
Barnes & Noble Booksellers

Friday, May 20, 2016

Nice review of "Donovan's Devils" on Roanoke Times

Link to the original article.

Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2016 12:00 am

Dangerous to the nth degree, as war itself must be, it is hard to imagine a more perilous assignment than to be inserted by parachute or small boat into the amorphous area behind the lines of an enemy well-known for their merciless savagery.
For an agent on such a mission, to be captured alive meant torture and inevitable death, usually hideously brutal. Yet even before Pearl Harbor, when the United States was forced into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had taken steps to create an agency first called the Office of Coordinator of Information; named Col. William J. Donovan as its chief; and authorized him to recruit, train and employ hundreds, then thousands, of gifted intelligence analysts. One doubts that anyone but a proven war hero, brilliant lawyer and superb organizer such as Donovan could have been successful in this unprecedented task.

Soon the group changed its title to Office of Strategic Services and expanded its role to include battalions of spies and saboteurs, operating in Europe, the Far East and many points in between. Hence the rather quaint appellation of “Donovan’s Devils,” a term possibly offered by a Hollywood flack, but quickly adopted by the Operational Groups. Though the OSS reach encompassed every theater of war, this book — by an author whose personal experience treads very close to having been a Cold War intelligence agent — is generally concerned with Western Europe and the Mediterranean region. With eight pages of illustration and maps, 18 pages of chapter notes, an 11-page bibliography and eight pages of photos, it would seem to be suitably documented. Perhaps had the maps been a bit clearer, and a few typos and misspellings been edited out, it would have appeared still better.
Among its interesting features is a series on the execution of a former Nazi general tried and condemned for his willingness to carry out Hitler’s command to shoot OSS and other agents and who ordered the murder of 15 captured Americans. Neither their uniforms nor the Geneva Convention rules availed to save them as prisoners of war.
The author describes in detail the training, arming and transportation of teams into German- and Italian-held territories, their heartening successes and lamentable failures. Failure for certain teams often meant utter destruction and barbarous reprisals on local civilian populations. Yet the effort persisted and contributed greatly to the eventual success of the regular military forces. The French Resistance, feeble at first, was gradually strengthened and supported. Huge amounts of arms, ammunition, explosives and other vital supplies and equipment were delivered by boat or parachute, and were quite useful in cutting German transportation and communications at the time of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
So “Donovan’s Devils” did their work, and their experience was not to be lost, for veterans in many cases went on to fight the Cold War, and form the nucleus of present-day Special Forces. Stimulating reading, for those who relish tales of derring-do.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Newly-discovered Video by Kim Philby

BBC found a newly-discovered video of Kim Philby speaking to East German STASI agents in 1981. From the transcript on the BBC site, it seems that Philby is telling the same story he wrote in his autobiography about his role in the US-UK joint operations against the Albanian communist government.

In my book Operation Valuable Fiend, I show that while Philby knew of the CIA-MI6 Albanian plans at the policy level, at the operational level he was kept at arm's length by the Americans. The failure of the American-sent teams in 1950 and 1951 (the only ones that Philly could have compromised) most likely was not as a result of Philby revealing the plans to the Russians.

It seems that the truth ultimately resides in the KGB archives, i.e. any records showing that KGB received information from Philby and passed it along to their mission in Albania for coordination/sharing with Sigurimi.

We won't know for sure until the Russians decide to open up.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Donovan's Devils Now Available


The Stirring, Little-Known Story of the Forerunners to Today’s Special Forces

Donovan’s Devils
OSS Commandos Behind Enemy Lines—Europe, World War II

By Albert Lulushi


“A proficient, well-wrought work that emphasizes the actual fighting men, their deeds, and their fates.” —Kirkus Reviews

"Lulushi’s engaging read will be of particular interest to those interested in the American immigrant experience and the history of special operations." —Publishers Weekly



Description: Donovan's Devils comps.jpgThe OSS—Office of Strategic Services—created under the command of William Donovan, has been celebrated for its cloak-and-dagger operations during World War II and as the precursor of the CIA. As the “Oh So Social,” it has also been portrayed as a club for the well-connected before, during, and after the war. 

Donovan’s Devils: OSS Commandos Behind Enemy Lines—Europe, World War II (Arcade Publishing, February 2016) tells the story of a different OSS, a story of ordinary soldiers, recruited from among first- and second-generation immigrants, who volunteered for dangerous duty behind enemy lines and risked their lives in Italy, France, the Balkans, and elsewhere in Europe.

Organized into Operational Groups, they infiltrated enemy territory by air or sea and operated for days, weeks, or months hundreds of miles from the closest Allied troops. They performed sabotage, organized native resistance, and rescued downed airmen, nurses, and prisoners of war. Their enemy showed them no mercy, and sometimes their closest friends betrayed them. They were the predecessor of today’s Special Forces operators.

Based on declassified OSS records, personal collections, and oral histories of participants from both sides of the conflict, Donovan's Devils provides the most comprehensive account to date of the Operational Group activities, including a detailed narrative of the ill-fated Ginny mission, which resulted in the one of the OSS’s gravest losses of the war.

About the Author
Albert Lulushi, is an entrepreneur, business executive, and author of narrative non-fiction books on intelligence, military, and Cold War subjects. Mr. Lulushi is the author of Operation Valuable Fiend: The CIA’s First Paramilitary Strike Against the Iron Curtain, which was a History Book Club and Military History Book Club selection. He lives in Oakton, Virginia.



Advance Praise for Albert Lulushi’s Donovan’s Devils

“Finally, thanks to Albert Lulushi, the Operational Groups of the OSS get their due. Along with the Jedburghs, the OGs were the forerunners of today's Special Forces. Lulushi's thoroughly researched and excitingly written narrative gives them their proper place in the history of the OSS.” —David Robarge, Chief Historian, Central Intelligence Agency

“Lulushi has produced a must-read book for any student of the OSS and for the general public at large. It is full of fascinating details about the little-known trials and tribulations of World War II OSS operations. It's definitely worth adding to anyone's intelligence library.”—Jack Devine, former deputy director for operations, CIA, and current president, the Arkin Group

“This book is an important contribution to our knowledge of the OSS—General Donovan's 'unusual experiment'—and mandatory reading for anyone interested in learning about one of the most fascinating and little-known aspects of the war.”—Charles Pinck, president, OSS Society

“An outstanding treatment of wartime heroism, determination, and risk-taking as the newly created OSS and its resistance partners found and played their role in fighting a brutal and clever enemy. The detail contained in each operation of the OGs covered in Donovan's Devils almost bring the reader into the operations themselves.”—David Cohen, former deputy director for operations, CIA, and deputy commissioner for intelligence, NYPD




Praise for Albert Lulushi’s Operation Valuable Fiend

“In Operation Valuable Fiend, Albert Lulushi has told a fascinating story well and made excellent use of untapped archival resources.” —David Robarge, chief historian, Central Intelligence Agency

“[For the operation’s dismal failure,] 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.” —Publishers Weekly

“An important and well-researched account of one of the Cold War’s less known and often misunderstood clandestine operations . . . Any reader has a treat in store, and any student of the history of America’s role in the Cold War will find the book indispensable.” —Ambassador Frank G. Wisner, former ambassador to four countries, under secretary of defense for policy and under secretary of state for international security affairs



To request an excerpt or to arrange an interview with the author, please contact:
Ashley Vanicek / (212) 643-6816 x288 / avanicek@skyhorsepublishing.com


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Donovan's Devils - Early Reviews Are Coming In

In advance of its release, Donovan's Devils has already received favorable reviews from leading trade publications.
Add your voice by rating it on AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads, and wherever you find it.

“Lulushi authoritatively relates the little-known story of the actions of the Office of Strategic Services’s Operational Group (OG), predecessors of today’s Army Special Forces, behind German lines during WWII. Lulushi's engaging read will be of particular interest to those interested in the American immigrant experience and the history of special operations.” —Publishers Weekly  (Read the full review)  
“Thorough research into the American military's special arm for guerrilla warfare, which helped undermine the Axis effort during World War II. . . . A proficient, well-wrought work that emphasizes the actual fighting man, their deeds, and their fates. Lulushi ably delineates these specific campaigns, from Corsica to Vercors, France, to the Balkans, and focuses on the appalling treatment of POWs by the Germans .” —Kirkus Reviews  (Read the full review)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Announcing the Upcoming Release of my Latest Book: Donovan's Devils

The Stirring, Little-Known Story of the Forerunners to Today’s Special Forces

Donovan’s Devils
OSS Commandos Behind Enemy Lines—Europe, World War II

By Albert Lulushi


“A proficient, well-wrought work that emphasizes the actual fighting men, their deeds, and their fates.” —Kirkus Reviews

"Lulushi’s engaging read will be of particular interest to those interested in the American immigrant experience and the history of special operations." —Publishers Weekly



The OSS—Office of Strategic Services—created under the command of William Donovan, has been celebrated for its cloak-and-dagger operations during World War II and as the precursor of the CIA. As the “Oh So Social,” it has also been portrayed as a club for the well-connected before, during, and after the war. 

Donovan’s Devils: OSS Commandos Behind Enemy Lines—Europe, World War II (Arcade Publishing, February 2016) tells the story of a different OSS, a story of ordinary soldiers, recruited from among first- and second-generation immigrants, who volunteered for dangerous duty behind enemy lines and risked their lives in Italy, France, the Balkans, and elsewhere in Europe.

Organized into Operational Groups, they infiltrated enemy territory by air or sea and operated for days, weeks, or months hundreds of miles from the closest Allied troops. They performed sabotage, organized native resistance, and rescued downed airmen, nurses, and prisoners of war. Their enemy showed them no mercy, and sometimes their closest friends betrayed them. They were the predecessor of today’s Special Forces operators.

Based on declassified OSS records, personal collections, and oral histories of participants from both sides of the conflict, Donovan's Devils provides the most comprehensive account to date of the Operational Group activities, including a detailed narrative of the ill-fated Ginny mission, which resulted in the one of the OSS’s gravest losses of the war.