The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the GreatestRescue Mission ofWorld War II

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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 in Yugoslavia...

During a bombing campaign over Romanian oil fields, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian farmers and peasants risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue, and in 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes—without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the cargo 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 ever. The Forgotten 500 is the gripping, behind-the-scenes look at the greatest escape of World War II.

“Amazing [and] riveting.”—James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers
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About the author

Gregory A. Freeman is an award-winning writer and a leader in the field of narrative nonfiction. Known for books that make a true story read like a gripping, fast-paced novel, his works include The Forgotten 500, The Gathering WindSailors to the EndTroubled Water, and The Last Mission of the Wham Bam Boys. He lives in the Atlanta area.
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4.3
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Sep 2, 2008
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781101032343
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Eastern
History / Military / World War II
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Gregory A. Freeman
Before the famed Nuremberg Tribunal, there was Rüsselsheim, a small German town, where ordinary civilians were tried in the first War Crimes Trial of World War II.

As the tide of World War II turned, a hitherto unknown incident set a precedent for how we would bring wartime crimes to justice: In August 1944, the 9- man crew of an American bomber was forced to bail out over Germany. As their captors marched them into Rüsselsheim, a small town recently bombed to smithereens by Allies, they were attacked by an angry mob of civilians -- farmers, shopkeepers, railroad workers, women, and children. With a local Nazi chief at the helm, they assaulted the young Americans with stones, bricks, and wooden clubs. They beat them viciously and left them for dead at the nearby cemetery.

It could have been another forgotten tragedy of the war. But when the lynching was briefly mentioned in a London paper a few months later, it caught the eye of two Army majors, Luke Rogers and Leon Jaworski. Their investigation uncovered the real human cost of the war: the parents and a newlywed wife who agonized over the fate of the men, and the devastating effect of modern warfare on civilian populations. Rogers and Jaworski put the city of Rüsselsheim on trial, insisting on the rule of law even amidst the horrors of war.

Drawing from trial records, government archives, interviews with family members, and personal letters, highly-acclaimed military historian Gregory A. Freeman brings to life for the first time the dramatic story. Taking the reader to the scene of the crime and into the homes of the crew, he exposes the stark realities of war to show how ordinary citizens could be drawn to commit horrific acts of wartime atrocities, and the far-reaching effects on generations.

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