Friday, March 27, 2015

Book review: "Savage Will" by Timothy M. Gay

Like a bargain hunter finding a rare antique at a yard sale, author Timothy M. Gay has found an amazing and little-known story tucked away in World War II's dusty attic.

In 1943, a plane carrying 28 American service members 13 of them women nurses got lost in bad weather while flying out of Italy and ended up crash-landing in Albania.  All survived the crash, but getting out of Albania, a mountainous country crawling with Nazis, would be the bigger challenge.

In "Savage Will," Gay tells the story of the crash and the Americans' arduous 136-day trek to freedom.

After the crash, the Americans were taken in by Albanian "freedom fighters" opponents of the Nazis and escorted from village to village in an odyssey that sometimes turned surreal.

Entering the city of Berat, the Americans were greeted as if they are they were the vanguard of a liberating army. The Americans are feted with speeches, lavish meals and plenty of alcohol.

"They could leave us right here for the duration (of the war) and I wouldn't be too sore," joked American medic John J.P. Wolf.

But soon the Nazis attacked the city and the American fled into mountains. They hiked day after day, sometimes through snow and bitter cold, and sometimes with little to eat. Their hopes rose when a daring rescue by plane was planned, but at the last moment it was called off.  So they continued to walk.

Gay is thorough in documenting the events, but has trouble bringing the personalities involved alive. The only two characters who really stand out are British special operations agent Garry Duffy, who aided the Americans, and Albanian guerrilla fighter Hasan Jina.  Even after reading the entire book, the Americans are barely distinguishable from each other. 

In fairness, Gay is hindered by limited sources. All but one of the Americans on the trek were dead by the time Gay started his research, so he had to pull most of his information from written accounts left behind by just two of the participants.

I like at the end how Gay describes how this book came to be it's almost as amazing as the escape itself.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Want a deal on joining L.A. Fitness? Call Paul

For five years, people have been coming to this blog looking for tips on how to get a good deal joining L.A. Fitness. Deals and discounts come and go. Here is my current advice: Call Paul at (786) 312-8299.

Paul is a manager at an L.A. Fitness in Florida, and a couple readers say that Paul is able to offers good deals, even for those that don't live in that area.

One reader said:

I lived in Florida i went in to one of the locations to sign up i was offered the 99/29 a month which is not a bad rate for everything they offer, while i engaged in a conversation with the sales person i told him where i worked he looked on his system and told me i was elegible to do a corporate rate i was very surprise this young man didnt wanted to sell me the higher rate since i learned they only care about commission, the gentleman told me is the right thing to do and that the best way to pay him was with referrals and since then i've send at least 5 people to him and he always gives them the best rate available ,he even tells them to wait to certain day to get the best deal i like his sincerity and if this helps here is his number 7863128299 His name is Paul he is the General Manager.  Also my nephew lives in NJ and he was able to do a membership for him.

Another reader took the advice and it worked well for him:

Hello:) im so happy i dint have to go thru the hustle to get a membership i called paul like the guy above said and he send me an email with multiple rates and i was able to join with no problem i paid 0 initiation only $34 a month and added extra $20 a month and im able to bring my husband and daughter to the gym with me every time i go , great deal im so happy thank you call paul if any question call him 7863128299.

Previous posts on this topic:
How to get $29.99 per month and no initiation fee at L.A. Fitness

How to save money joining L.A. Fitness

L.A. Fitness deal – $34.99 monthly and no initiation

Want a deal on an L.A. Fitness membership? Ask Kay

L.A. Fitness deal: $34.99 a month and no initiation

How to save $25 joining L.A. Fitness

 (Please support this blog by clicking on an ad, or by donating via the Paypal button below.)