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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

4.5 out of 5 stars 981 customer reviews

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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

"The daring rescue effort to save hundreds of downed airmen in dangerous enemy territory is an amazing but unknown WWII adventure story. Told in riveting detail for the first time, The Forgotten 500 is a tale of unsung heroes who went above and beyond." -- James Bradley, #1 "New York Times" Bestselling Author of "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Flyboys" "Gregory A. Freeman has written a riveting account of the greatest escape during World War II. It is a remarkable adventure story of courage and daring that is superbly told." -- Tony Zinni, General, USMC (Ret.) "Gregory A. Freeman's "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." -- Gregg Olsen, "New York Times" Bestselling Author of "The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Mining Town" "This is an exciting, powerful story of escape and rescue. It has been buried for too long..." -- Tony Koltz, "New York Times" Bestselling Author of "The Battle for Peace" "A gripping, true-life narrative of one of the most heroic and inspiring-but virtually unknown-military operations of World War II . . . Freeman chronicles it 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. "The Forgotten 500" is destined to become required reading for serious students of the Second World War." -- Malcolm McConnell, #1 New York Times Bestselling Coauthor of "American Soldier" "A breathtaking popular account." -- "Booklist"

aRiveting.a
aJames Bradley, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Flags of Our Fathers"
aExcitinga]breathtaking.a
a"Booklist"
aFascinatinga]full of romance, action, and adventurea]told with skill and grace.a
a"America in WWII"
aA literary and journalistic achievement of the highest order, a book that illuminates [and] thrillsa] It will take your breath away.a
aGregg Olsen, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Deep Dark"

?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"

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; Reprint edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451224957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451224958
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (981 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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.
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