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.
This is really two tales in one.. the amazing rescue of allied bombercrews who crashed in Yugoslavia during the second world way. There isalso a second story about communist plant5s in the OSS, MI5 and how they manipulated the British and American governments to hand Yugoslavia to Tito and his followers.
Both are worth listening too tolearn something asbout a little known portion of the war.
Wow --- what an exciting/excellent story about a little-know rescue of American airmen behind enemy lines during World War II --- was so informative to hear about the aircraft they flew, the training, the missions, the dangers, and some of their personal lives, especially the parts about Yugoslavian-Americans.
The book gets slightly bogged down in the middle with political history --- sounds like a text book but don’t let that deter you --- was a fascinating, extremely interesting story that I could not stop listening to --- I was sorry when it ended --- highly recommended.
I felt so lucky to have selected this one.
Well, after over a year of listening to audible, I finally decided to write a review... As another review mentioned, this is two stories in one. The secondary story, discussing the situation between Tito and Milosevic, and the American handling of Milosevic is truly a story in itself. I have always been an "American History" buff, but now I find myself looking for more on this episode in world history. This book is a great listen, the narration is above average, and the story(s) grab your attention right from the start.
Wow, this is another example of why this was the “greatest generation”. This book was non-stop action that script writers could only hope to come up with.
Kudos to Patrice Lawlor in his narration. I also enjoyed him in another worthy read/listen, The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai. He is quickly becoming another of my favorite readers.
This is the story of downed pilots in Yugoslavia and their life with the Yugoslav peasants as they helped to hide these airmen from the Germans. Simultaneously, the story of the internal struggle for power in Yugoslavia between Tito and Mihailovich was played out along with the Allies’ analysis of which of these two was their greatest ally. Even though Mihailovich was the one who was responsible for assisting in the rescue of these men, history shows that the Allies threw their support to the communist Tito—helping communism gain a foothold in Eastern Europe that would last more than 40 years.
I was surprised to learn of the way the British (intentionally or not) sabotaged the American efforts to rescue their men. This information was jaw-dropping. In the end, Mihailovich was abandoned and not acknowledged by America for nearly 60 years.
Ronald Reagan wrote of Mihailovich, “I wish that it could be said that the great hero was the last victim of confused and senseless policies of western governments in dealing with communism…Beyond doubt, both freedom and honor suffer when firm commitments become sacrificed to appeasing aggressors by abandoning friends." Words that still have meaning today.
If you enjoy non-fiction but want it to be interesting this is a great choice. The format of the book and the author's style read more like a novel. The narration is top quality if not over-acted in some spots but overall a great listen end to end. Anyone with at least a passing interest in WWII history or untold stories should get a kick out of this.
This is an awesome book! The rescue of these flyers is an incredible heroic feat. It was interesting to learn about the dedication of many Yugoslavians to helping downed American flyers, and the risks taken to do so. Why this story has not been given more attention escapes me, but it is an inspiring, gripping tale. I mostly listen to books in the car. I nearly had to pull over a couple times to cry or cheer!!!! The narrator does a good job...a fairly straightforward read, which I've decided is my preferred style. Too many theatrics on the part of the narrator often get in the way of the story. This narrator strikes a good balance in that regard, and is easy to listen to.
The sense of commaderie as portrayed among the flyers and their rescuers is inspiring and helpful for those of us who are military families. Somehow it is comforting to hear! Listen to this one...you'll love it. No one could make up a better story!!!!
Ray is my husbands name. I am a middle aged woman from Michigan
I liked the portion of the book really focused on the rescue itself and then the prologue on the aftermath. But it took a long time to get that section. The majority of the book spends a lot of time on the background and information of the "politics" at the time. When I read the overview of the book, I assumed it would primarily be on the rescue itself - but there are a lot of chapters that are interesting if your heavily into WWII - but didn't see totally relavant to the heart of the story.
I've lived in Austin, Texas, for over 10 years, not Houston. World War II is my lifelong interest since my father was a combat veteran in the 8th Air Force. I grew up with pilots, bombardiers, and navigators. They told me many stories of their experiences and I cannot get enough of books and documentaries.
The magnitude of this story and its exclusion from WWII documentaries makes it truly amazing. The timeline and buildup to the climax made this a compelling book.
The Army Air Corps' finest hour.
The Stalinist in Britain did a great disservice to American Airmen and true patriots fighting both the Nazis and the Communists.
I and many others likely have not heard of this story. For some it may not be detailed enough, as 500+ were rescued, but the book mainly decribes one main mission. The book kept me interested, and it felt like a book of the 40's. Some books can be so detailed where you have to listen intently, but this book can be heard more casually. It is disturbing how the American brass abandoned the Serb commander (not sure how to spell his name)of the rescue and safety of American pilots. The pilots felt differently though, but the American brass wanted to back Tito, which turned out to be a mistake. The Serb peasants were amazingly courageous in this situation where they could have been tortured and killed by hiding Americans. The Serbs were big heroes in this event.
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