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

Mitchell Zuckoff
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (707 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $9.20
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

“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 Luttrell’s Lone Survivor, and David Grann’s The Lost Cityof Z will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfullyrecounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery injungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2011: Near the end of World War II, a plane carrying 24 members of the United States military, including nine Women’s Army Corps (WAC) members, crashed into the New Guinea jungle during a sightseeing excursion. 21 men and women were killed. The three survivors--a beautiful WAC, a young lieutenant who lost his twin brother in the crash, and a severely injured sergeant--were stranded deep in a jungle valley notorious for its cannibalistic tribes. They had no food, little water, and no way to contact their military base. The story of their survival and the stunning efforts undertaken to save them are the crux of Lost in Shangri-La, Mitchell Zuckoff’s remarkable and inspiring narrative. Faced with the potential brutality of the Dani tribe, known throughout the valley for its violence, the trio’s lives were dependent on an unprecedented rescue mission--a dedicated group of paratroopers jumped into the jungle to provide aid and medical care, consequently leaving the survivors and paratroopers alike trapped on the jungle floor. A perilous rescue by plane became their only possible route to freedom. A riveting story of deliverance under the most unlikely circumstances, Lost in Shangri-La deserves its place among the great survival stories of World War II. --Lynette Mong

Review

“Zuckoff transforms impressive research into a deft narrative that brings the saga of the survivors to life.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 5936 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HD61L8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,997 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
706 of 720 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nightmare in Shangra-La February 23, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a true story, but Mitchell Zuckoff does such an amazing job of telling it that reads much like a novel in that it grabs you right from the beginning, and for me, was darn near impossible to put down. Imagine going on a fly-over sight seeing tour of one of the most beautiful mountain jungle areas in the world to see an almost hidden, untouched valley and then crashing into a mountain and being one of the few survivors trying to find a way out. But getting out or back to the base isn't easy in a place with no roads or paths, just dense rain forest vegetation, a huge tree canopy and tangled vines both above and below you. Imagine being injured with open wounds and having to exist in a place that's perpetually wet and steaming with all sorts of bacteria and fungi and little to keep it out. You don't even want to think about all the bugs and critters that call this place home. Add to that the stories you've heard about spear throwing, cannibalistic natives and you wonder how these people didn't give up right then and there.

Having read the description of the book and knowing that it was a rescue and reading pretty much what the outcome was, I was a little concerned that the book might not hold my attention. But, not to worry, as soon as I started reading I was mesmerized by the amount of detail and how gripping the story was. Mitchell Zuckoff notes that no liberties were taken with any of the facts, characters, dialog or chronology which must have made it a double challenge for him to put the diaries, notes, news stories and newsreels and interviews all together in a way made me feel like I was there, personally involved with these people.

Besides being such a good read, it added to my knowledge of the history of WWII.
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171 of 176 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just a Plane Crash Story March 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Near the end of WWII, a plane crashed on New Guinea. A colonel based there thought he and another pilot had been the first white men to discover an Eden-like valley filled with towns of natives on the island. As a morale booster, he would send planes filled with soldiers and WACs to the valley, dubbed "Shangri-La" after the nirvana of LOST HORIZONS. One of the planes crashed and only three survive - two soldiers and one WAC. The WAC and one of the soldiers were severely injured.

The account then tracks their survival, how they were found and how they were rescued. The author uses diaries, Army records and interviews to reconstruct the events.

Mr. Zuckoff provides far more then a simple account, however. He provides some history of the participants. Especially interesting were the Phillipino-American soldiers who volunteered for the rescue mission and the rescue operation itself (don't want to give it away). The most fascinating aspect, though, was the study of the natives who had lived a stone age war-mongering existence completely isolated from the rest of the world, or even the rest of the island and their interactions with the Americans. What makes it so unique is that he has the perspectives from both the American side and the natives' side because he was able to New Guinea last year and interview natives who still remembered the events. Thus he was able to provide their thinking as well as the Americans'. It is frequently amusing to learn the gross misunderstandings of members of the two so different cultures. Even with these gross misunderstandings they were able to peacefully co-exist for seven weeks.

The background and the retrospective perspective make this far more than just a plane crash sage. Highly recommended.
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506 of 566 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Soldiers and Jungle Queens April 30, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the year 1945, on the island of what was then titled Dutch New Guinea, an Army base full of soldiers & WACS were stationed there waiting for shipment out to the Philippines. While killing time waiting for their next set of orders, they embark on mini day trips soaring the skies above the jungle canopy into the land of towering mountains and magical panoramic terrain. A native village had been sighted and those who enlisted for these special sightseeing flights were dubbed members of The Shangri-La Society. Flying over this village that was hidden deep in the valley gorges was extremely dangerous due to low visibility through cloud enshrouded mountains. Tight hairpin turns in between gorges didn't leave a whole lot for airplane maneuverability. On one such run, the airplane nicknamed the Gremlin Special, took off for a day of fun to only end in tragedy. Clouds came in swiftly blocking visibility, causing a catastrophic plane crash that killed 24 men and women instantly. Three lucky survivors, although seriously burned, miraculously walked away.

Lost in Shangri-La is the amazing story of their many months spent deep in the perilous jungle of New Guinea. Lost and alone, they were in drastic need of food, water, supplies, and more than anything, medical attention. John McCollum, Kenneth Decker, and a beautiful blonde petite WAC named Margaret Hastings were in rough shape. Maggie's legs were horribly burned, Decker's entire backside was worse, and although McCollum was able to walk away uninjured, he lost his twin brother in the flames. Walking to a nearby hillside brought the trio a little hope when the jungle walls parted and a group of frightening natives emerged, bows and arrows and spears at the ready.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
I bought this on a recommendation for my Father as a book I was hoping he would enjoy. My 86 year old Father read it in 3 days and has since re-read in three times, My Mother... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Christopher E Furry
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I found the book to be an interesting story and I would recommend it. the book is an easy read.
Published 3 days ago by Pam Wrye
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing true life experience
This story about the experience of those who survived this terrible plane crash in Shangri-La is truly amazing. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Gail Fridstein
4.0 out of 5 stars The book okay, but Kindle had problems
I purchased this book as a Kindle download. First, I wish to address the problem with Kindle not having provided in that download every sentence in the book. Read more
Published 6 days ago by David A. Brayshaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Story
The author describes a little-known incident which occurred at the end of WWII. He presents it very well. The book is a good read.
Published 8 days ago by Otownjer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting story
A tale of WWII in inaccessible New Guinea, when a plane crashes and the crew has to find a way out. It is like another world, with different rules and customs. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Jane Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellently researched, accurately told
The most impressive thing about this book is the incredibly good job the author did in running down the facts of the event giving rise to the book. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Schmerguls
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Good short book about survival. Takes you back to a time before technology made it simple to solve some problems.
Published 15 days ago by George B waldron
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Survival Story
We both loved this book. Truly amazing there are some people who have
so much grit and can withstand so much horror and still come out whole. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a novel
Loved this non-fiction work that reads like a novel. Zuckoff did a marvelous job of researching this little known event that occurred near the end of WWll and bringing it to life. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Lynn S.
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More About the Author

Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University. Previously, he was a reporter and writing coach for The Boston Globe, where he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting. He won the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Livingston Award, and The Heywood Broun Award, among other national honors. He received a master's degree from the University of Missouri and was a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia. He lives outside Boston. His website is www.mitchellzuckoff.com

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