The Forgotten 500

(10 customer reviews)


SKU: 0451224957 Category:


From the Publisher

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nonfiction books books for dad world war 2 books ww2 books gift for men history war books

nonfiction books books for dad world war 2 books ww2 books gift for men history war books





Additional information

Publisher ‏ : ‎

Dutton Caliber; Reprint edition (September 2, 2008)

Language ‏ : ‎


Paperback ‏ : ‎

336 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎


ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎


Item Weight ‏ : ‎

12.2 ounces

Dimensions ‏ : ‎

5.91 x 0.75 x 8.97 inches

Best Sellers Rank:

#5 in American Military History

Customer Reviews:

5,026 ratings

10 reviews for The Forgotten 500

  1. John

    Born in August of 1945, I am a WWII history buff. My early interest was strictly naval history, thus I apparently did not pay much attention to the efforts to exonerate General Michailovich. I know that hindsight is 20/20, but I thought Churchill had early misgivings about Stalin’s trustworthiness. Also, government officials in the U.S. and Great Britain hired known Communists to work in sensitive areas of their respective governments. This allowed Kluggman to influence policy of both governments. Consider then what is going on today. We have a President who is trying to steer our country back onto the right track, but his every move is being stymied and criticized by “Deep State” moles planted by the previous administration. Fortunately, the truth is coming out, even though it is slowly doing so.

  2. TBiscuit

    An outstanding book that covers a coverup by both the US and British governments and what a mess they created for decades since. This piece of history deals with downed US airman over areas of Yugoslavia already occupied by Germans during WWII. This piece of history exemplifies what happens in our world when the powers that be back the wrong horse. In this case, Tito, the staunch communist ally of Stalin’s. Without the grit, determination, and sheer courage of all the players involved, 500 US airman may not have made it out of Yugoslavia. The Serbian peoples did give the downed airman food that was scare and in short supply, their clothing and shelter from the Nazi’s, risking torture and death which was always present. The Nazi’s burned whole villages and executed their occupants for sheltering allied forces. Post WWII Tito took brutal hold of Yugoslavia, and it remained communist and under the power of the Kremlin for decades as we know. A historical event that magnifies the tragedy, heroism and courage of village folk, military personnel and the stupidity of both Roosevelt and Churchill. British intelligence was rife with double agents all working for Stalin. The most famous of these being the Cambridge Five post WWII. This reader notes that its ridiculous to realize that Ian Fleming the famous creator of James Bond worked in “intelligence” during WWII and neither he nor any other of the brilliant minds of the day picked up or suspected Klugmann or any other of the highly adept spies working for them (but reporting and loyal to Russia). This book does make mention of the spy Klugmann, who is believed to be responsible for feeding the erroneous information to Churchill who then fed it to Roosevelt. A fantastic true event of precision piloting, brave people and stupid politicians.

  3. LaKuesti

    The title says it all: these men as well as their courageous protectors have truly been forgotten among the many tales of WWII. I experienced that war as a child in Europe, have since then learned a lot about this world-wide conflict in other areas, but had never heard for this group of heroes.The book is well researched and the author was able to obtain many personal background stories for the various participants. It delves into the now incomprehensible attitudes of major political figures of the time and explains how they came by these.. Gutsy decisions were made and actions taken on both sides of the Atlantic, eventually leading to to a very wonderful ending. I was fascinated by this book which explained and also corrected many of my childhood snitches of memories of that time.

  4. Doug D

    This is a great book and reveals the inequities of USand British Policy during WWII. The US State Department turned away from the downed US airmen and those who saved them. Had it not been for the brave Serbian Villages and Soldiers under the leadership of Serbian General Mihailovich, fighting against the Wehrmacht, our downed airman would have ended up in enemy hands. If not for those brave Serbians and the US OSS, who put together a very risky plan to rescue the Forgotten 500 and it worked, most would have either not survived or been captured to suffer in POW Camps! All involved were heros. Our policy of the State Department and the administration, would have for political expediency just look the other way. The travesty of selling General Mihailovich down the river, having not supplied him in his efforts and then when he was given a show trial by Tito, Stalin’s puppet, was a terribly sad day in American History. This book sheds the light on an amazing part of WWII history covered up by Washington intentionally sacrificing our heros and the heros who saved them!

  5. Michael N Vanatta

    The Forgotten 500ByGregory A. FreemanEvery once in a while you discover a book that envelopes your emotions and you wonder how those events could happen. This is one of those stories, a true story.During WWII one of the Nazis’ main sources of fuel was an oil refinery in Ploesti, Romania. The Allied Powers made it their mission to destroy this refinery by sending countless missions from Brindisi, Italy, over Yugoslavia to Ploesti to bomb the facility. In the course of these missions, many B24 bombers were shot down and hundreds of Allied flyers (mostly Americans) were stranded behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia, a country that most did not know the language or customs.At that time in Yugoslavia there were two ruling factions. Draza Mihailovich, a staunch friend of the United States hated the Nazis and wanted to free his country from their grasp. Josip Broz Tito, a communist and ally of Russia also hated the Nazis, wanted to get rid of them and, interestingly enough, the two men hated each other. You had a dramatic triad, Mihailovich and Tito, each commanding thousands of soldiers fighting each other for control of Yugoslavia and each fighting the Nazis, their common enemy.Flyers would parachute into Yugoslavia, not having any idea how they would be received by the populace and wondering if they would be turned over to the Nazis. Much to their surprise and relief villagers would welcome them, hide them in their homes and share their meager supply of food. These villagers would risk their lives guiding them through the mountains of Yugoslavia to the troops of Mihailovich. English speaking Yugoslavians were few and far between and most communication was with gestures and pantomime.After days and, sometimes weeks, the group would reach Pranjane, Yugoslavia and be united with other flyers. This was Mihailovich’s accumulation point and ended up holding approximately 500 airmen. They would spend months with nothing to occupy their time and no communication with the allies.During this time, on a political front, Mihailovich was falling out of favor with the British because of the machinations of a Russian mole named James Klugman placed high in British intelligence. This had the effect of spoiling his relationship with the Americans, as well, though totally unfair. The few Americans who had spent time with Mihailovich behind enemy lines and had made it back knew the truth and were a small group trying to salvage the relationship and put together a rescue for the downed flyers.After several failed attempts to land an initial team at Pranjane to help prepare for the rescue as a combined British and American effort, the Americans decided to go it alone because of their belief of British sabotage. The Americans were able to land the team and, using the men there, built a runway in the mountainous region with hand tools which was no small effort. C-47 cargo planes were the ones chosen for the exfiltration and required a landing strip of 700 feet. The one built was exactly 700 feet with trees and mountains all around it. There was no room for error.Considering the fact that each plane only would hold 12 passengers and held just enough fuel to make the round trip from Brindisi to Pranjane, it is no small miracle that between August 9, 1944 and December 28, 1944, the Americans rescued over 500 airmen, 345 of them Americans with no fatalities. This, despite the fact they were flying over enemy territory in slow planes, easy targets for German Messerschmitt fighters.The trumped up case of Mihailovich collaborating with the enemy got worse because of Klugman and other communists in the ranks and he was cut off from the United States. Despite this, he remained a friend to the end and saw to it the airmen were protected at Pranjane through the entire operation.Not much longer the war ended and Tito gained control of Yugoslavia. He still hated Mihailovich and had him executed. Though Mihailovich was a friend to the very end, we aided in his execution and the eventual Communist control of Yugoslavia. Not our finest moment in history.Winston Churchill was later quoted saying that his handling of Yugoslavia was his biggest mistake of the war.In 1997 declassified British papers confirmed the Klugman/Mihailovich story and the truth was official. Mihailovich deserved much better.Sixty years after this travesty on May 9, 2005 the Legion of Merit was presented to Gordana Mihailovich for the actions of her father for the United States in WWII,In writing a review, it can be hard to decide what to include and not to include. It is a review, after all, not the book itself. Gregory Freeman has so much in this book that is not in this review and does a great job in telling this story that every American should hear. I appreciate him writing it.

  6. Sylvia

    I’ve read a lot of books in the last year. I’ve forgotten most of them, but NOT THIS ONE. I recommended the Forgotten 500 to a number of readers every one of them came back to me claiming there weren’t enough adjectives to describe the impact it had on their history of WWII. They all had questions – How did I find out about it? Was it really true? Where is Serbia? Wasn’t Tito of Yugoslavia supposed to be on our side? How could this story have been kept under wraps for so long. In researching – in a very limited way – I found there were many activities classified TOP SECRET and kept classified decade after decade. The German speakers who escaped Germany, volunteered to return, to secure vital information for the Allies is another story that only recently came to light. The Forgotten 500 were mostly Americans, sent to bomb the oil refineries of Romania. The oil fueled the planes, ships, tanks, vehicles of the Third Reich. The Germans were waiting for the American planes on their way to bomb the Romanian oil fields. Many never made it back to their base in Italy. Those that had to bail out of their planes were rescued by the Serbs, hustled out to hide in the mountains until the Serbs, OSS and American Airmen themselves could come up with a rescue plan. The OSS thought they had to rescue over 70, then the number increased to over 100, then 200, then….. finally over 500 were spirited out of Serbia returning them to their base in Italy. It was a dangerous, difficult and deadly work and the greatest rescue mission of WWII. It’s a page turner. You’ll love it.

  7. Army Vet

    Interesting story about a little known event of WWII, where General Draza Mihailovich of Yugoslavia, a Nazi-occupied nation helped the rescue of American (and other nationalitiies) flyers when their planes were shot down after bombing runs on the heavily defended Ploesti oil fields of Romania. Also a study in how America failed to come to the aid of the courageous and patriotic leader of this effort when he was jailed and killed by his political enemy, Marshall Josip Broz Tito who orchestrated the takeover of Yugoslavia by Stalin and the Soviet Union as part of the division of Europe and Asia by Churchill and Roosevelt/Truman at the end of WWII.

  8. tsgtmoon

    Absolutely Fantastic Book. I really had a difficult time putting it down. The author did an awesome job of bringing the lives of all Heroes involved into play in a seamless manner. I felt like I was with them in the mountains of Yugoslavia. He introduced the main characters in mini biographical way to personalize each one. His description of their trials and tribulations leading up to the heroic rescue kept me on the edge of my seat. The actions of the United States and Great Britain through this ordeal bordered on criminal. The actions afterward was criminal. It was bad enough to mis-characterize the Serbian General while he was saving and protecting hundreds of airmen , but to support a lying Communist Chancellor Tito due to a Communist mole in the British Government is unforgivable. Shame on Our governments for hiding the true story of these events for so many years, and Thank You, Gregory Freeman for bringing this Epic Story to Light.

  9. Russell Stoewe

    Although I’ve read countless military history books about WW II, all but a few had been about the war in the Pacific or the ETO. The remainder dealt with the Russian front or North Africa. I had given little thought to the Balkans even though I appreciated the importance of the Romanian oil fields to Nazi Germany. And as a child growing up, I was imbued with the concept that Tito was a “good communist” unlike the ones is the U.S.S.R. Although this book is about the rescue of over 500 airmen, mostly US, it delves in detail into the subversion of the communist fellow travelers in, primarily, the British government and their success in convincing both the US and British government that Tito was a “good guy.” I recommend this book for not only the main story line of the rescue of all of the downed airmen but also to provide real insight into the behind the scenes politics involved in that rescue and the subsequent emergence of Yugoslavia as a communist country.

  10. Patrick

    Most of the books with “unknown” or “forgotten” in the title seem to be stories with which I am at least familiar and often provide no new information. Not this one!I was totally unaware of this rescue mission and and certainly unfamiliar with the details of soviet manipulation of allied support for the communist Yugoslav’s instead of the Chetniks. Nor was I aware of the British communist spy who facilitated that manipulation and some cases had the British working at odds with the US! The book gives great detail about the rescue and the events surrounding it. I found the end notes to also be quite illuminating.Highly recommended!I’m really glad I found this book and took a chance

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