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

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Overview

During a bombing campaign over Romanian oil fields, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian farmers and peasants risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue, and in 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes-without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the cargo ...
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Overview

During a bombing campaign over Romanian oil fields, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian farmers and peasants risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue, and in 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes-without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the cargo planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back without getting shot down themselves.

Suppressed for more than 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 ever. The Forgotten 500 is the gripping behind-the-scenes look at the greatest escape of World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Exciting...breathtaking.
America in WWII
Fascinating...full of romance, action, and adventure...told with skill and grace.
From the Publisher
"A master storyteller" —-Doug Stanton, bestselling author of In Harm's Way
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641994357
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Gregory A. Freeman is an award-winning writer with over twenty-five years in journalism.

An AudioFile Earphones Award winner and Audie Award finalist, Patrick Lawlor is also an accomplished stage actor.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     xi
We'll Get Them Out     1
Abandon Ship!     10
Counting Parachutes     26
Americanski?     37
Long Journey to Somewhere     59
Escaping Yugoslavia     79
Passports, Please     99
Man of the Year     113
Abandoned Ally     129
Screw the British     147
Goats' Milk and Hay Bread     168
An All-American Team     183
SOS ... Waiting for Rescue     189
Sure to Be a Rough Landing     199
Red. Red. Red.     213
Going Home Shoeless     225
Gales of the World     240
Secrets and Lies     267
Epilogue     274
Partial List of Airmen Rescued in Operation Halyard     281
Acknowledgments     285
Notes     287
Bibliography     301
Index     307
Contact the Author     309
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2007

    The Halyard Mission's 'Forgotten 500': The Story of Genuine Heroes

    Author Gregory Freeman, in 'The Forgotten 500', doesn¿t just capture the events of `Operation Halyard¿, he is able to capture the essence of General Mihailovich as well. He describes the impression that Mihailovich left on the Americans, such as on OSS radioman Arthur Jibilian: 'Like every other American who met Mihailovich personally, however, Jubilian was taken by the way a man of such simplicity could at the same time give such an impression of grandeur. Jibilian and the other Allied soldiers were most impressed by Mihailovich¿s sense of dignity in the face of extreme hardship and insurmountable odds and the humble way he received accolades from his followers, consistently coming away with the same unshakable impression that they were standing in the presence of greatness.' The drama of `Operation Halyard¿ would end in December of 1944, and due to the perseverance of men with the names of Vujnovich, Musulin, Petrovich, Rajachich, Lalich, Jibilian and others, it would end as a virtually perfect success story in the face of almost insurmountable odds. Every downed airman survived. General Mihailovich, however, would not share their fate. His life would come to an end a year and half later, when he was executed by the Yugoslav communists. The airmen whom he had saved were left to their tears, devastated by the news, and many would dedicate the rest of their years to vindicating Mihailovich, his Serbian people, and to seeking justice for the man to whom they felt they owed their very lives. Many in the Allied world who were following the capture, trial, and execution of Mihailovich, were left to wonder ¿how it could have been allowed to happen.¿ Gregory Freeman¿s The Forgotten 500 goes a long way in shedding light on ¿how could this have been allowed to happen.¿ Freeman does not accept the fact that ¿it was allowed to happen.¿ With the publication of 'The Forgotten 500' he is doing his part to make things right. Given the truths contained in this book, I wondered who Gregory Freeman was. He accommodated my curiosity with the following response: 'As you probably know already, I am not of Serbian descent and have no personal connection to this story at all. Instead, I was drawn to the opportunity to bring some measure of justice to a hero and local Serbs who risked their lives for my country and who ultimately were betrayed by history. I wrote this book because that wrong should be made right, not just for Mihailovich and the Serbian community, but for the American public as well. After all, we can't say 'thank you' if we don't know what they did.' I highly recommend 'The Forgotten 500', not just to my American and Serbian friends, but to anyone interested in historical accounts that are not tarnished with propaganda, lies, and political correctness. I also recommend this book to anyone who is inspired by a great story about great people who did great things. Those of us who know the ¿Halyard¿ story and its significance will smile with satisfaction. We should, indeed, be pleased. It¿s about time.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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