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The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II


The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

November 1944: Their B-24 bomber shot down on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast, a scattered crew of Army airmen cut themselves loose from their parachutesand#151;only to be met by loincloth-wearing natives silently materializing out of the mountainous jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers? Or would the Dayaks risk vicious reprisals to get the airmen safely home in a desperate game of hide-and-seek?

A cinematic survival story featuring a bamboo airstrip built on a rice paddy, a mad British major, and a blowpipe-wielding army that helped destroy one of the last Japanese strongholds, The Airmen and the Headhunters is also a gripping tale of wartime heroism unlike any other you have read.

About the Author

JUDITH M. HEIMANN is a career diplomat and the author of The Most Offending Soul Alive. She spent seven years living in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and speaks Indonesian. She traveled to three continents and interviewed all the surviving Dayaks and airmen in her research for this book. She lives in Washington, D.C., and Brussels.

Table of Contents


Preface  *  1

ONE: A B-24 Over Borneo  *  3

TWO: Into the Jungle  *  21

THREE: The D.O.s Dilemma  *  35

FOUR: “Good-bye, Mister”  *  57

FIVE: Another Part of the Forest  *  71

SIX: Becoming Lun Dayeh  *  81

SEVEN: A Letter from the Japanese  *  95EIGHT: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Times" Polecat Gulch  *  109

NINE: The Pangeran Forces the Pace  *  131

TEN: The D.O. Declares War  *  147

ELEVEN: The Navy Crashes In  *  165

TWELVE: Help from on High  *  189

THIRTEEN: SEMUT Finds Work for the Yanks  *  205

FOURTEEN: A Way Out  *  225

FIFTEEN: The Allies Arrive  *  243


Acknowledgments  *  263

Glossary  *  267

A Note on Sources  *  273

Index  *  281

Product Details

Heimann, Judith M.
Mariner Books
Military - World War II
Military - United States
Military - Aviation
United States - 20th Century
Military-World War II General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
One 8-page black-and-white photo insert
8 x 5.31 in 0.67 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » Military » Aviation History
History and Social Science » Military » US Military » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » Aviation
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » Pacific
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » India

The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II New Trade Paper
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