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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 Audiobook, by Gregory A. Freeman 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 Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781400175222
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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 500 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. Download and start listening now!

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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.”

    Booklist

  • A master storyteller Doug Stanton, bestselling author of In Harm's Way

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron Routon | 1/12/2014

    " I very much enjoyed reading this story of the airmen who were stranded in Yugoslavia. The details of the rescue were riveting. It is never easy to detail happenings in different parts of the world that are occurring at the same time but Author Freeman was able to skip back and forth seamlessly without losing my interest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca Coday | 1/7/2014

    " Unexpectedly Awesome! I never did know what was going on with Serbia (former Yugoslavia) and now I not only understand that, but also more of WWII history as well. I highly recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 12/31/2013

    " This is a great book about the courage and sacrifice of all the people involved. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregg Chiota | 12/26/2013

    " Fascinating yet surprisingly unkwown story detailing the US rescue of over 500 downed pilots from German occupied Czech Republic. Also provides great insight into the foundation of the Cold War struggle between US and USSR starting with the Czeck civil war in the 1940's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy Difar | 12/16/2013

    " I loved the parts of the story that dealt with the escape from Nazi territory, but the political rhetoric was more than I bargained for ... or wanted in this story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dale | 11/30/2013

    " A combination of individual and national heroism combined with international political failure. Who knew that Great Britain and the U.S. unintentionally handed Yugoslavia directly to the communists? Interesting history and a decent read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 George | 11/21/2013

    " If you like war history this is a good one so far. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 10/25/2013

    " A truly fascinating read about an unknown World War 2 event that by all accounts should have been publicized decades ago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valerie Gaydos | 10/24/2013

    " great story of escape "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frances Johnson | 9/26/2013

    " This is a fascinating book about the rescue of 500 men. This awesome deed was kept a secret since WWII. It also shows how Tito silenced the United States and finally killed the great hero of this mission . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merrill Clark | 9/25/2013

    " Very interesting about Tito's communists and Mihailovich's partisans in the context of downed fighters. Both opposed to Nazism yet hated each other. Britain's communist infiltrators steered US opinion away from Mihailovich and towards Tito. Interesting on getting the US soldiers out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 9/3/2013

    " As an audiobook, it was hard to follow the jumping from one character to another, but I enjoyed the book and learning about the airmen and the men who rescued them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Miller | 1/11/2013

    " I enjoyed this book and learning about yet another aspect of World War 2. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Callister | 7/18/2012

    " Pretty good read about a little known and amazing story to come out of WWII. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pete Williamson | 7/6/2012

    " Had the makings of a really interesting read, but the telling only briefly rose to the level of the tale. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dylan | 4/27/2012

    " Definatly intresting but gets boged down in the middle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Kollmansberger | 3/21/2012

    " Fantastic story...not unusual to hear of such heroic acts. But these life giving acts by civilian peasants who sometimes paid with their lives. Great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chuck | 12/30/2011

    " A great true story. Would make a great movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 12/17/2011

    " Absolutely amazing book. Highly recommended to everyone. Think you don't like history or non-fiction? It reads very much like a novel, so give it a try. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chuck Hemesath | 11/9/2011

    " Documented an lesser known lives of downed airmen performing bombing runs over Italy and Hungary "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ernie | 10/6/2011

    " An incredible story, learned a great deal, liked the ability to blend the documentary side to the storyline. A must read for any interested in WW II - especially from the human side of the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nikki | 9/3/2011

    " I've really been into WWII books lately. The Forgotten 500 covered an entirely different aspect of the war. I had no idea the people of Yugoslavia played such a role in saving our soldiers and hope this book helps showcase their spirit and generosity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 L.J. | 6/15/2011

    " Barely two chapters into this one. I read so many WWII books that I was surprised to find a 'unknown' story just being revealed. The writing style is not on the level of an Ambrose but I don't want to solely compare- but finding the story itself fascinating so far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hayley | 11/28/2010

    " This was an interesting account of a WWII resuce mission that until recently had been top secret. The book provided a great overview of the war scene in Yugoslavia during World War II. Informative, interesting, and well-written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seena | 11/13/2010

    " Great story. Writing is orginary but so glad to learn about this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 10/31/2010

    " Amazing WW II era story! Frustrating that the Allies turned their backs on General Mihailovich in Yugoslavia in favor of the Communist Tito. Inspite of that, Mihailovich safeguarded over 500 airmen downed over Yugoslavia and helped the OSS get them out. This would make a great movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Billiesol | 6/10/2010

    " A piece of non fiction that reads like fiction. Only interesting to those of us who are interested in WWII hero stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 5/17/2010

    " Incredible untold story of a daring WWII rescue mission. Although, I could live without all of the political back and forth because it didn't really improve the read for me at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregg | 2/24/2010

    " Fascinating yet surprisingly unkwown story detailing the US rescue of over 500 downed pilots from German occupied Czech Republic. Also provides great insight into the foundation of the Cold War struggle between US and USSR starting with the Czeck civil war in the 1940's.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dylan | 2/18/2010

    " Definatly intresting but gets boged down in the middle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chuck | 1/2/2010

    " Documented an lesser known lives of downed airmen performing bombing runs over Italy and Hungary "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig | 1/2/2010

    " This is a virutally unknown story about bomber crews shot down over Yugoslavia in WWII and their life on the run from enemy forces. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Snail in Danger (Sid) | 9/22/2009

    " Interesting story, but the writing/structure is not the best. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fred | 9/20/2009

    " Exciting. Appreciative. Historical. Damning U.S., Britain. Heart warming. Very worthwhile read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merrill | 8/16/2009

    " Very interesting about Tito's communists and Mihailovich's partisans in the context of downed fighters. Both opposed to Nazism yet hated each other. Britain's communist infiltrators steered US opinion away from Mihailovich and towards Tito. Interesting on getting the US soldiers out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamon | 6/25/2009

    " Story was repetitive, but more exciting was the story of how the spies got in and out of the country to set up the rescue. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 4/16/2009

    " My husband's great uncle is the first man followed in this 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.

About the Narrator

Patrick Lawlor, an award-winning narrator, is also an accomplished stage actor, director, and combat choreographer. He has worked extensively off Broadway and has been an actor and stuntman in both film and television. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many starred audio reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.