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

Written by:
Gregory A. Freeman
Narrated by:
Patrick Lawlor

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2007
11 hours 0 minutes
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.
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Tony S.

A great book but does dove off in the weeds a little. The author needed to convey the story and it’s prominent in WW2 history. Did that and more, worth the listen if you enjoy learning about the war.

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LaMarr A.

Another gem of a book added to my regrettably very weak and limited knowledge of WWII history. Better late than never though. Very well and enticingly suspenseful narration. All our young 'snow flakes' that abound today don't know what strength and character their grandparents were made of! bad!

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Adam H.

Great story!

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Nora M.

Terrible. Firstly if you were drawn to this book by the "against all odds" podcast do not buy it. This is a poor writer. For example: "His parents had emotionally buried their son." Um... no. The author has taken the encyclopedia and written it out like an ADHD sufferer. He hangs the contents of said encyclopedia on the thin details of the story of Leon. You have to press forward til you get to the story of Leon ehich he stays on for two paragraphs til the author can return to his goal: to dump the encyclopedia onto the pages again. It cant even be used to get you to sleep as his ADHD is so crazy-making. You've been warned.

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James B.

Fantastic story that should be told. very good book.

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Jack B.

The story covered much outside of the title but was important to understand the politics.

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Cris Sayago

A truly powerful story! Would completely recommend!

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Stephen J.

Interesting and amazing story not regularly told. Makes me want to hug a Serbian.

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Aaron Linden

It was a good book, but it wasn't for me. Very interesting stories from all of the men that told their life stories! Thank you all that served and protected our Country!

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Debra B.

Interesting history. Book seems to wander off to give background of characters, which can be distracting. It all ties together but sometimes takes more time away from the main story. Certainly provides a view of historical events and how political some of the war time decisions impacted much more than anticipated.

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Valerie G.

Great story! I was hooked. Must listen! I also enjoyed the narrator. He used accents to compliment the various characters both American and yukoslavian accents. Highly recommend, very compelling story!

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Amazing and moving account of WWII in Yugoslavia that is generally not known. Highly recommend this listen!

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Laurie R.

It was an interesting story. At times it was hard to follow with a lot of background detail that was somewhat distracting, but on balance was worth the time.

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It was mostly interesting. It lost me for a few moments here and there. As it's my first military/history audiobook I'm not sure how it stack against other similar books so I gave it a 4. Maybe it's worth more, maybe less. Sorry if I'm not helpful, I'm a novice

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Devon G.

great book was a quick 10 hours

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Andy D.

Brilliantly written, these men were true hero’s in every sense of the word. Terrific historical quality.

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