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.
©2007 Gregory A. Freeman; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
I'd like to echo the excellent reviews provided by the other listeners. I have one reservation, however.
The British intelligence services are uniformly portrayed fairly poorly as incompetent "tea swillers" throughout. There is no real acknowledgement of the vital work done by the British SOE or SIS in the theatre well before the existence of the OSS.
While I am Australian, I have read widely on the history of the OSS. In my experience there is at least a grudging acknowledgement of the assistance provided early on to the fledgling US service. A little more balance on this issue wouldn't have taken anything away from the story.
From the beginning this book grabs your attention and holds it! Not only will you learn about the rescue of the downed airmen, you will also read an accurate account of the German invasion and the two primary resistance movements in the country. It has a good pace and even the background that is given holds your interest. You will find it an excellent book to listen to.
I like to read history, and this was a story I had never heard about. Though half way through the book gets a little bogged down with politics, it was an interesting read, and I would recommend it. My only complaint is with the narration; I don't know why, but this narrator just cannot hold my attention. I can't really put my finger on why that is, but I never like his reads. And his accents are terrible!
As this amazing story has (unfortunately) been kept out of the public eye for so long, the fates of the people involved are unknown. This adds suspense to an already fascinating story. Add the implications of skewed information to bolster the "politically correct" side of the conflict in Yugoslavia during WWII, and one gains new insight into how what we learn today about conflicts may also be skewed.
This is a very good story. A compelling piece of WWII history and the eastern European politics of that era that show through today.
My issue is the narrator sounds really young. The really strong characters and story lose something when told via a 12 year old. With Audiobooks the Narrator is key to a good "read", this one misses. The great story carries it, so its fine but could have been much better.
This is one of the most interesting audio books I have listened too. It was a history that I had never heard of until now. It explained a lot of our modern history of today. It was deeply moving. If you love history this book is for you.
Anyone who claims to be interested in US World War 2 or Cold War history should listen to this or read it. It is not only a remarkable story of determination, but also provides an interesting retrospective on some of the mistakes the US made immediately following World War 2. It is interesting to speculate how things could have been different, and discouraging when you realize that many have not learned from these mistakes.
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