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Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

by

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II Cover

ISBN13: 9780061988349
ISBN10: 0061988340
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On May 13, 1945, twenty-four American servicemen and WACs boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip over "Shangri-La," a beautiful and mysterious valley deep within the jungle-covered mountains of Dutch New Guinea. Unlike the peaceful Tibetan monks of James Hilton's bestselling novel Lost Horizon, this Shangri-La was home to spear-carrying tribesmen, warriors rumored to be cannibals.

But the pleasure tour became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed. Miraculously, three passengers pulled through. Margaret Hastings, barefoot and burned, had no choice but to wear her dead best friend's shoes. John McCollom, grieving the death of his twin brother also aboard the plane, masked his grief with stoicism. Kenneth Decker, too, was severely burned and suffered a gaping head wound.

Emotionally devastated, badly injured, and vulnerable to the hidden dangers of the jungle, the trio faced certain death unless they left the crash site. Caught between man-eating headhunters and enemy Japanese, the wounded passengers endured a harrowing hike down the mountainside — a journey into the unknown that would lead them straight into a primitive tribe of superstitious natives who had never before seen a white man — or woman.

Drawn from interviews, declassified U.S. Army documents, personal photos and mementos, a survivor's diary, a rescuer's journal, and original film footage, Lost in Shangri-La recounts this incredible true-life adventure for the first time.

Review:

"Zuckoff (Ponzi's Scheme) skillfully narrates the story of a plane crash and rescue mission in an uncharted region of New Guinea near the end of WWII. Of the 24 American soldiers who flew from their base on a sightseeing tour to a remote valley, only three survived the disaster, including one WAC. As the three waited for help, they faced death from untreated injuries and warlike local tribesmen who had never seen white people before and believed them to be dangerous spirits. Even after a company of paratroopers arrived, the survivors still faced a dangerous escape from the valley via 'glider snatch.' Zuckoff transforms impressive research into a deft narrative that brings the saga of the survivors to life. His access to journal accounts, letters, photos, military records, and interviews with the eyewitnesses allows for an almost hour-by-hour account of the crash and rescue, along with vivid portraits of his main subjects. Zuckoff also delves into the Stone Age culture of the New Guinea tribesmen and the often humorous misapprehensions the Americans and natives have about each other. In our contemporary world of eco-tourism and rain-forest destruction, Zuckoff's book gives a window on a more romantic, and naive, era. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Mitchell Zuckoff has found one of the great untold yarns of World War II. In the bold tradition of The Lost City of Z and other well-crafted armchair adventures, Lost in Shangri-La takes us on a breathless descent through forbidding jungles into the heart of the Stone Age." James L. Swanson, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt

Review:

"[A] gripplingly cinematic account....A remarkable cast of characters." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Zuckoff delivers a remarkable survival story....In this well-crafted book, Zuckoff turns the long-forgotten episode into an unusually exciting narrative....Polished, fast-paced and immensely readable — ready for the big screen." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush and impenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them a dame with great gams, for heaven's sake), a startling rescue mission....This is a true story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew—what an utterly compelling and deeply satisfying read!" Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic

Synopsis:

Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoff unleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War II rescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S. military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor, and David Grann’s The Lost City of Z will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfully recounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery in jungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.

Synopsis:

“A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush andimpenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them a dame withgreat gams, for heaven's sake), a startling rescue mission. . . . This is atrue story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew—what an utterly compelling and deeplysatisfying read!" —Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic
 
Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoffunleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War IIrescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S.military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides Ghost Soldiers, Marcus Luttrells Lone Survivor, and David Granns The Lost Cityof Z will be captivated by Zuckoffs masterfullyrecounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery injungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.

About the Author

Mitchell Zuckoff's honors include the 2000 Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. His book Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey was a Boston Globe bestseller and won the Christopher Award.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Diane Boteler, January 6, 2013 (view all comments by Diane Boteler)
A ripping good, page turner true story of a US Army Air Corps C-47 that crashed in the wilds of New Guinea in the latter days of World War II. The author's in-depth character descriptions made those who died and those who survived feel like someone you could know. The ordeals and adventures of the survivors as they struggle to live in the jungle amidst encounters with Stone Age tribespeople while hoping for a daring rescue are fascinating. A wonderfully told, uplifting tale of ingenuity and survival against daunting odds. A great read!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Charlie Branch, June 17, 2012 (view all comments by Charlie Branch)
Well written book, but about an exercise of stupidity in World War II, as a USAF veteran put it. There was no reason for this to have happened as the pilot who was familiar with the area this tour was to have flown through was not available, and any pilot that had attempted to fly above the mountains to cross New Guinea in less than perfect weather had been either lost to posterity or advised against it. Recreational flight in a combat zone? Not knowing your location or reporting your plan for a joyride? Diverting resources from those in combat?

The author wrote this well, but this event should not have gotten off the ground to start with.

I am a AF brat, former Alaska USFS/Fish & Game fisheries hand of the boonies, and one to avoid the unnecessary risk. Our crews got home.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Stephen Kahn, April 11, 2012 (view all comments by Stephen Kahn)
Historical writing at its finest, this book combines a a suspenseful tale of "will they survive" with an enlightening and ironic portrait of modern civilization (American forces during World War II trying to rescue survivors from a plane crash in New Guinea mountain jungles) meeting "primitive" stone age warriors. Engineering ingenuity, anthropological insight -- this yarn covers a lot of bases.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061988349
Author:
Zuckoff, Mitchell
Publisher:
HarperTorch
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.25 in 22.8 oz

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Military » US Military » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » Pacific
History and Social Science » World History » General
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Harper - English 9780061988349 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Zuckoff (Ponzi's Scheme) skillfully narrates the story of a plane crash and rescue mission in an uncharted region of New Guinea near the end of WWII. Of the 24 American soldiers who flew from their base on a sightseeing tour to a remote valley, only three survived the disaster, including one WAC. As the three waited for help, they faced death from untreated injuries and warlike local tribesmen who had never seen white people before and believed them to be dangerous spirits. Even after a company of paratroopers arrived, the survivors still faced a dangerous escape from the valley via 'glider snatch.' Zuckoff transforms impressive research into a deft narrative that brings the saga of the survivors to life. His access to journal accounts, letters, photos, military records, and interviews with the eyewitnesses allows for an almost hour-by-hour account of the crash and rescue, along with vivid portraits of his main subjects. Zuckoff also delves into the Stone Age culture of the New Guinea tribesmen and the often humorous misapprehensions the Americans and natives have about each other. In our contemporary world of eco-tourism and rain-forest destruction, Zuckoff's book gives a window on a more romantic, and naive, era. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Mitchell Zuckoff has found one of the great untold yarns of World War II. In the bold tradition of The Lost City of Z and other well-crafted armchair adventures, Lost in Shangri-La takes us on a breathless descent through forbidding jungles into the heart of the Stone Age."
"Review" by , "[A] gripplingly cinematic account....A remarkable cast of characters."
"Review" by , "Zuckoff delivers a remarkable survival story....In this well-crafted book, Zuckoff turns the long-forgotten episode into an unusually exciting narrative....Polished, fast-paced and immensely readable — ready for the big screen."
"Review" by , "A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush and impenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them a dame with great gams, for heaven's sake), a startling rescue mission....This is a true story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew—what an utterly compelling and deeply satisfying read!"
"Synopsis" by , Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoff unleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War II rescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S. military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor, and David Grann’s The Lost City of Z will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfully recounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery in jungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.
"Synopsis" by , “A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush andimpenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them a dame withgreat gams, for heaven's sake), a startling rescue mission. . . . This is atrue story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew—what an utterly compelling and deeplysatisfying read!" —Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic
 
Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoffunleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War IIrescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S.military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides Ghost Soldiers, Marcus Luttrells Lone Survivor, and David Granns The Lost Cityof Z will be captivated by Zuckoffs masterfullyrecounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery injungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.
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