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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

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Length: 405 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 11616 KB
  • Print Length: 405 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Publication Date: April 26, 2011
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HD61L8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,436 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mitchell Zuckoff is the Sumner M. Redstone Professor of Narrative Studies at Boston University and a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. Previously, he was a reporter and writing coach for The Boston Globe, where he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting. His honors include the PEN/Winship Award for Nonfiction, the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Livingston Award for International Reporting, and The Heywood Broun Award, among others. 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

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#61 in Books > History
#61 in Books > History

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

760 of 776 people found the following review helpful By PT Cruiser TOP 50 REVIEWER on 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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198 of 206 people found the following review helpful By Rick Mitchell VINE VOICE on 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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553 of 615 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Mancini VINE VOICE on 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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What a jerk. I'm only 100 pages in and I've already gotten plenty of "adventure" for my money. Go ahead, list 5 better true stories where you got greater "adventure."
21 days ago by Robert L. Mahlstedt |  See all 2 posts
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