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The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the…
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The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the… (edition 2008)

by Gregory A. Freeman

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161None73,862 (3.94)1
Member:lamour
Title:The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II
Authors:Gregory A. Freeman
Info:NAL Trade (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:WW II, Yugoslavia - History, Airmen - US, Operation Halyard, Escapes - Yugoslavia

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The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II by Gregory A. Freeman

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Allied air forces started bombing the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania in 1942. They really stepped up the campaign after they took Italy which made the flights to Romania shorter. However, the Germans defended the oil fields with 100's of fighters and 1000's of antiaircraft guns. The losses for the Allies were high and many planes were able to flee the oil fields badly damaged but they could not climb over the mountains to Italy. Many airmen bailed out over Yugoslavia and were rescued and hidden from the Germans by the Chetniks. The Allies would not recognize that possibly a 100 men were being hidden. When they finally became convinced, they set up a air rescue which eventualy brought out over 500 men.
The other theme in the book is how the British and Americans backed the Tito Partisans rather than the Mihailovich Chetnicks and lost Yugoslavia to the Communist Block after the War. The way the Allies treated Milailovich still rankles the men who were rescued by his men. The Serbian people shared their meager rations with these soldiers and to this day have happy memories of the the American airmen they protected.
Reading this is like reading a fictional adventure story. I could not put it down. ( )
  lamour | Nov 11, 2012 |
Enjoyable book. However, I found it repetitious, and critical areas were glossed over. Examples:

Repetition: How many times did I have to be reminded that the US military told soldiers (wrongly) to look for Tito's soldiers and that Mihilavich's soldiers were awful? OK, I got it - they blew it, but this is a major theme and it's repeated over and over. Tito good, Mihilavich bad. It made me wonder whether the book was written by a supporter of Mihilavich that wanted to rant about how unjust things were.

Glossed over: the whole bit about building an airstrip by hand took just a couple of minutes... I'd been waiting through the book to finally hear about the challenges they faced doing this, and how it was done, and it ended up like "it was hard. Really hard.". WTH?

But overall I liked the book - interesting story. ( )
  marshapetry | Mar 11, 2012 |
Although this history of one of the great rescues of World War II runs a bit too much toward cheerleading at the end, it's a fine book overall. Freeman does an excellent job of writing history at both the individual and geopolitical levels. ( )
  wanack | Mar 1, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451224957, Paperback)

Now in paperback?the ?amazing?( James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers) never-before-told story of the greatest escape of the Second World War.

In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 downed airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped and sheltered for months by villagers behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of Operation Halyard, a story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery, is now being told for the first time.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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