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

Version: Unabridged
Author: Gregory A. Freeman
Narrator: Patrick Lawlor
Genres: Military
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published In: October 2007
# of Units: 9 CDs
Length: 11 hours
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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.

Reviews (6)


Written by Andy D. on March 20th, 2019

  • Book Rating: 5/5

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

The Forgotten 500

Written by Connie on September 15th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 5/5

WOW....what a story! Very sad that the world was not allowed to hear this true story immediately after the war. I admired the men that were involved, that they persisted in trying to get the truth out, even many years after the fact. Disappointed to hear that the U.S. followed U.K.'s direction in handling this event, and in the end.....the governments of both countries were wrong.

The Forgotten 500

Written by Anonymous on May 12th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Fascinating story. The attention to detail and the politics is important but not riveting. Well worth the time to get this "untold" story. (like the title, ha ha). Really a story you should hear.

Forgotten 500

Written by Anonymous on August 3rd, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

POWERFUL This book tells a moving and powerful story. It is generally well written, although its does drag a bit and is a little redundant at times. However, this is more than offset by the depth of the individual stories and the tales of the incredible sacrifices made by so many to save these 500 airmen. It also sheds light on the tragic failure by the British government and the American State Dept which led to the rise of Tito and the betrayal of our allies in Serbia. Overall, an interesting book, which reaffirms why this was "The Greatest Generation:.

Military History

Written by APDS4 on July 8th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This is a must read for WWII and/or military history buff's but it is not all that well written/told and does not hold ones attention real well. I stopped and started it several times but eventually finished it and was glad I did for the knowledge.

forgotten 500

Written by charlie on April 16th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Remarkable story, well read and exciting from start to finish.

Author Details

Author Details

Freeman, Gregory A.

Gregory A. Freeman is the author of "Lay This Body Down: The 1921 Murders of Eleven Plantation Slaves." An award-winning journalist with twenty years' experience, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.