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Download The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample 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, Patrick Lawlor Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (904 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gregory A. Freeman, Patrick Lawlor Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The astonishing, never-before-told story of the greatest rescue mission of World War II—when the OSS set out to recover more than five hundred airmen trapped behind enemy lines… 

During a bombing campaign, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian villagers risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers, and for months the airmen lived in hiding, waiting for rescue. 

In 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip—without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the rescue planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back—without getting shot down themselves. 

Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time. The Forgotten 500 is the breathtaking, behind-the-scenes look at the greatest escape of World War II.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dante Katz-andrade | 2/11/2014

    " this book tells an interesting, but not well-known story of bravery, and kindness and injustice, of WWII. As the US and the allies keep bombing the Axis oil refinement factories, more and more airmen get downed in Yugoslavia. The people of the countryside help these downed airmen deliberately against the Germans, and a risky rescue mission is set up under all odds. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Laurie | 2/11/2014

    " Excellent. Hard to beat non-fiction about the lives of heros. A remarkable story of human compassion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tina Nelson | 2/4/2014

    " I found this book interesting as it told a story I was unfamiliar with about World War II. However it was a little to much of a non-fiction book and not enough of a story to make me fall in love with it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Larry | 1/14/2014

    " "The Forgotten 500" is a remarkable story of a little known event during World War II when literally hundreds of Allied airmen (mostly American) were trapped behind enemy lines in the rugged hills of Yugoslavia. More than a tale of courage and a nearly impossible rescue that the United States somehow pulled off, the books goes into detail about the social, political, and religious landscape of the Balkans. The OSS, the precursor of the modern day CIA, played no small role in this event and it was interesting to read how this organization came about during the Second World War. Learning about the conflicts between Yugoslavian military leaders Tito and Draza Milhailovich and all the hazy and cloudy political shapeshifting was a real eye-opener for me. This book has it all -- the daring airmen, British spies and moles, Communists and Nazis, the OSS, the State Department, Presidents Eisenhower and Truman and so much more. For anyone interested in American history, especially the stories that are rarely told, this is the perfect book. "

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About the Author

Gregory A. Freeman is an award-winning writer with over twenty-five years in journalism. He has won more than a dozen awards for his writing, including the coveted 2001 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists. He received his degree from the University of Georgia in Athens and has worked for the Associated Press in Atlanta. He has since become a freelance writer and continues to write for a number of publications, including Reader’s Digest, Rolling Stone, World War II, American History. He is the author of Sailors to the End: The Deadly Fire on the USS Forrestal and the Heroes Who Fought It. He lives in Roswell, Georgia.