704 of 718 people found the following review helpful
A nightmare in Shangra-La,
This review is from: Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (Hardcover)
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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. With so many battles going on all over the world, New Guinea isn't a place that you read that much about in history books on the war. This book tied a lot of what was going on in that area together for me. There are lots of characters in this book besides just the survivors and Zuckoff gives us the background stories on several of the rescuers and people at the base camp as well as some of the politics of the time. He does it in such a way that it doesn't interrupt the main action, but rather adds to the insight and makes it that much more interesting.
This would be a good book for any World War II buff, history lovers, action adventure enthusiasts, and really, anyone who just loves a good read. And because one of the main characters in this story is a woman who enlisted in the WAC, I think it would be equally interesting for both men and women. Two thumbs up for this great book that left me blurry eyed this morning after "just one more page" kept me up the better part of the night to finish it.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 30, 2011 9:31:10 AM PDT
Robert P. Martin says:
Super good review! I'm buying this one. Maybe you should write a book...
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2011 9:43:50 AM PDT
Awww, thank you, Robert. I wish I were that talented! That's always been a dream of mine.
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. Mitchell Zuckoff has a great style of writing. I think I'll order his, Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend to read next.
Let me know how you like the book.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2011 5:20:10 PM PDT
Barbara McArthur says:
If you liked Mitchell Zuckhoff's style, have you read any of Erik Larson's - the latest being "In the Garden of Beasts?" I can recommend all of his! All this goes to show that truth is jucier than fiction! Good review!
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2011 10:11:30 PM PDT
Barbara, yes, I did read "In the Garden of Beasts" and you're right, I did enjoy that one very much also. It was very well written.
Posted on Aug 25, 2013 11:04:20 AM PDT
Marlou P. Levine says:
Great review!. . . . . . . .M
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 25, 2013 1:16:29 PM PDT
Thank you, Marlou! If you decide to read the book I hope you enjoy it.
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