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The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II Paperback – September 2, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Reprint edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451224957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451224958
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (560 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bombing of the Ploiesti, Romania, oil refineries, a key German resource, started in 1942. Allied pilots sustaining damage frequently bailed out over Serbia in German-occupied Yugoslavia, where the resistance and others hid them. By 1944, more than 500 were stranded and slowly starving. The OSS concocted the daring Operation Halyard to airlift them, but they had to construct a landing strip without tools and without alerting the Germans or endangering local villagers, and then the rescuers had to avoid being shot down themselves. The operation's story is an exciting tale, but it was kept from general knowledge for decades; the resistance leader most responsible was a rival to Tito. Nazi-baited by a Stalinist mole in British intelligence, he was executed in 1946 with the consent of Britain and America, which thereafter refused to acknowledge having been snookered (the State Department kept many details classified more than 50 years). Evoking the rescuees' successive desperation, wild hope, and joy, and their gratitude to the Serbians who risked their lives to help, Freeman produces a breathtaking popular account. Murray, Frieda --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Riveting.”
—James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers

“Exciting…breathtaking.”
Booklist

“Fascinating…full of romance, action, and adventure…told with skill and grace.”
America in WWII

“A literary and journalistic achievement of the highest order, a book that illuminates [and] thrills… It will take your breath away.”
—Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Dark --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Gregory A. Freeman is an award-winning writer with more than 25 years experience in journalism and narrative nonfiction. Known for writing books that make a true story read like a gripping, fast paced novel, Freeman is quickly becoming one of the most respected and successful authors in the field of narrative nonfiction.

Freeman's books are scrupulously researched and entirely factual, yet they read more like novels because he weaves the "stranger than fiction" personal stories of his subjects into a compelling narrative. Each project requires intensive research - getting to know the subjects personally and probing for previously undisclosed documents. Freeman also explores the subject matter himself, whether that means flying onto the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea or gaining access to the most restricted parts of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison. But the most important parts of the books are the often intensely personal, emotional interviews with the men and women who were there. Their personal stories make up the heart of Freeman's work, the part that most connects with the reader.

In addition to his books, Freeman writes for a wide range of magazines and other publications, including Reader's Digest, Rolling Stone, American History, and World War II.

Freeman has won more than a dozen awards for his writing, including the coveted Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists - twice in five years. He attended the University of Georgia in Athens and began his writing career there, working for newspapers while studying journalism and political science.

After receiving his degree, he went on to work for The Associated Press in Atlanta and then spent several years as executive editor of a publishing company. He then became a freelance writer, editor, and author.

Known for writing narrative nonfiction that makes a true story read like a gripping, fast paced novel, Freeman's latest work is The Gathering Wind: Hurricane Sandy, the Sailing Ship Bounty, and a Courageous Rescue at Sea, released October 29, 2013, by New American Library, an imprint of Penguin Books. This book tells the story of the tall sailing Bounty, which was lost off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Answering many of the questions prompted by that terrible loss, The Gathering Wind is a compelling drama about the crew, the Coast Guard rescuers, and the investigations that followed.

Freeman's earlier book The Last Mission of the Wham Bam Boys tells the story of a World War II bomber crew that is shot down over Germany and then lynched by local townspeople, leading to the first war crimes trial after the conflict ended. Kirkus Reviews called it "A chilling tale" and "a riveting narrative."

Freeman also published Troubled Water: Race, Mutiny and Bravery on the USS Kitty Hawk in September 2009, also with Palgrave Macmillan. Troubled Water tells a little known story of a race riot on the carrier Kitty Hawk in 1972, focusing on the two senior officers who will determine whether this already tragic episode ends peacefully or spirals down into one of the darkest moments in Navy history. Just prior to that, Freeman co-authored a book with Col. Larry C. James, the U.S. Army psychologist who was sent to stop the abuse at the notorious military prison in Abu Ghraib, Iraq. Fixing Hell: An Army Psychologist Confronts Evil at Abu Ghraib, released in August 2008, tells the harrowing tale of a man struggling to be both a military officer and a medical professional, while also revealing previously unknown details about the prison scandal and how the system was improved.

James Bradley, bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, and The Imperial Cruise praises Freeman as a talented author whose books provide an important service to the country. Bradley says of Freeman's latest, Troubled Water: "Gregory Freeman has dug out the true hidden story of the first mutiny in the history of the U.S. Navy. You'll enjoy this high-seas thriller."

Freeman won wide acclaim for The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II, published in 2007 by New American Library. This popular book tells the fascinating but previously unknown story of Operation Halyard, a super secret and ultra risky rescue mission to save downed American airmen in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Malcolm McConnell, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of American Soldier, says of The Forgotten 500: "Freeman chronicles [the story] with a master's touch for detail. Although this book reads like a fast paced novel, it is based on scores of probing interviews and meticulous archival research." Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Dark, says The Forgotten 500 is "a literary and journalistic achievement of the highest order, a book that illuminates, thrills and reminds us that heroes sometimes do live among us. It will take your breath away."

Before that, Freeman saw great success with Sailors to the End: The Deadly Fire on the USS Forrestal and the Heroes Who Fought It, originally published in July 2002 by William Morrow. In Sailors to the End, Freeman tells the story of the young men aboard an aircraft carrier in 1967, following their life-and-death struggles through an accidental fire that threatens to destroy the world's most powerful ship. Sailors to the End was enthusiastically embraced by the military community and general interest readers alike. One reviewer said, "The book grabs readers and leaves them emotionally exhausted. In particular, the description of the death of sailor James Blaskis in a remote and inaccessible part of the ship cannot leave a reader unmoved." A Kirkus Reviews writer called Sailors to the End "a compassionate account of a dramatic incident in modern naval history, told with cinematic immediacy and narrative skill." Senator John McCain, who was injured in the fire, endorsed the book and called it "a riveting account" that honors the men who died.

In Lay This Body Down: The 1921 Murders of Eleven Plantation Slaves, Freeman paints a vivid picture of a plantation run with slave labor 56 years after the Civil War. Melissa Fay Greene, author of The Temple Bombing and Praying for Sheetrock, called Lay This Body Down a "magnificently well-written book." Library Journal's Robert C. Jones wrote that "this moving narrative account is arguably the most complete history of this event available."

See the author's web site at www.gregoryafreeman.com.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#54 in Books > History
#54 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

Interesting story very well written.
Ms. B
It is a great story of all the men who risked their lives for all of us.
Joy Gatlin
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in WWII history.
M. L. Dominguez-Plaza

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

604 of 613 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Jibilian on November 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am the radio operator, "Jibby" in this book. We owe a debt to Mihailovich and the Serbian people for saving so many American lives. The SERBIANS WERE THE ONLY ONES IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA THAT FED, SHELTERED, AND RISKED THEIR LIVES FOR THE AMERICANS. Mihailovich's abandonment by the Allies and subsequently being labeling a traitor was, in Winston Churchil's words, "...My greatest blunder in WWII..". I am proud of being a part of the Halyard Mission and, FINALLY, seeing the truth regarding Mihailovich's contributions in WWII being publicized. This book will go a long way in clearing his name.....and it is exciting, easy reading, and hard to put down once you start it.
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183 of 190 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
"The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II", by Gregory A. Freeman, is an engaging story of which I was not familiar prior to reading this book. It is the story of the hundreds of airman who were shot down on missions over the oil refineries in Romania which the Germans were tremendously dependent upon during the war. Many of these airmen ended up in Yugoslavia, some were captured by the Germans, a few ended up with Tito's forces, but many more ended up with the Serbian Guerilla forces under the leadership of General Draza Mihailovich. Those lucky enough to be with Mihailovich found themselves engaged in one of the greatest allied force rescues behind enemy lines throughout the entire war. This was OPERATION HALYARD, and that is the primary story told in the book. However, many other stories are told as well: the escape from Nazi occupied Serbia, the employment into the newly established OSS, the story of Allied Airmen and their aircraft. One of the tragedies at the end of the story is the Allied support of Tito over Mihailovich due to the many Soviet sympathizers s in the OSS and among the British forces. Mihailovich ended up being executed by Tito after the war. All and all, this is a very good read. If you think you know all the major stories of WWII, try this read. It may surprise you.
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146 of 152 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Dominguez-Plaza on February 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just passed the book, The Forgotten 500, on to my son in Iraq. What a terrific read and one I know that he and his fellow soldiers will enjoy. I cried, laughed and got very angery as I read this book. Those Airmen and the civilians who helped them return to their homes should never be forgotten. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in WWII history.
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Aleksandra Rebic on October 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War Two

By Gregory A. Freeman

Publisher: New American Library, 2007. New York.

Review by Aleksandra Rebic

When I asked author Gregory Freeman what drew him to the story of `Operation Halyard', he didn't hesitate:

"My interests as an author usually lead me to stories of heroism and sacrifice that went unrecognized for too long, and the story of Operation Halyard fits the bill perfectly. I was drawn to the idea that not only was this an amazing tale of intrigue and bravery, but it had been purposefully hidden from the American people for decades. A dramatic story is one thing; a dramatic story that has been kept secret is even more intriguing. The story of Operation Halyard is one of the last great stories of World War II and it is high time that the American people learn about the heroic sacrifice of Draza Mihailovich and the Serbian people."

There are men who fight for their country who are truly a personification of dedication, determination, courage and heroism. Some of them we come to know, and their names are immortalized in our historical consciousness. There are others who most people never hear of and their deeds never become legend, though they deserve to be known and remembered and permanently included in the historical record. The Forgotten 500 by author Gregory Freeman is a new and important book that not only introduces the public to such men, but explains why they and their rescuers deserve a prominent place in history. This book is a celebration of human fortitude and integrity and is so much more than just another book about World War Two.
Read more ›
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Winston on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An exciting read about the downed US airmen who were shot down behind enemy lines and later were rescued by Yugoslavian Partisans and Militia. An emotional read for WW II history buffs and this is thus far the best book on the secret missions to save allied airmen from behind the Nazis and Italians' front lines. Every airman saved was later returned to serve the cause of freedom. The sad part however is that these Partisans were left without any support or life-line after the war was over and a few of them, wrongfully, tried for their alleged crimes. The Eastern European experience should not be done again. Poland, Yugoslavia, Czech republic and ... could very well be saved from the grips of the Stalinists if FDR had not left them alone. All in all, this is a great read on WW II and the politics of Balkans during the war. Highly recommended...
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By benh7777 on October 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very good story, a story that should have been told years ago.
The reason I only give it 3 stars is because the book starts out so good with lots of action in the first 3 or 4 chapters then it boggs down going way too far in detail about a few peoples lives before their role in this heroic true story. I like to know the people I'm reading about but it's just page after page of stuff that could have been told in 1 chapter. Then in the last 4 or 5 chapters it gets back to intense action.

Despite the middle of the book, this is still worth the read. Very interesting how well Yugoslavian people treated our men with what little they had, risking their own lives to help, and the role of the SSO.
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