- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780061988356
- ISBN-13: 978-0061988356
- ASIN: 0061988359
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,880 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lost in Shangri-La Paperback – April 24, 2012
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“A truly incredible adventure.” (New York Times Book Review)
“[A] gripplingly cinematic account. . . . A remarkable cast of characters. . . . A.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“This is an absorbing adventure right out of the Saturday-morning serials. . . . Lost in Shangri-La deserves a spot on the shelf of Greatest Generation nonfiction. It puts the reader smack into the jungle. ” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“Zuckoff transforms impressive research into a deft narrative that brings the saga of the survivors to life.” (Publishers Weekly (starred 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))
“[An] engaging story. . . . This excellent book will be enjoyed by anyone who loves true adventure stories.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“A riveting tale in the hands of a good storyteller. . . . LOST IN SHANGRI-LA is the most thrilling book, fiction or nonfiction, that I have read since I can’t remember when.” (Seattle Times)
“Mitchell Zuckoff has uncovered, and vividly reconstructed, such an astonishing tale. . . . Zuckoff skillfully builds narrative tension and deft character portraits. . . . . He has pulled off a remarkable feat — and held the reader firmly in the grip.” (David Grann, Washington Post)
From the Back Cover
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. Mitchell Zuckoff reveals how the determined trio—dehydrated, sick, and in pain—traversed the dense jungle to find help; how a brave band of paratroopers risked their own lives to save the survivors; and how a cowboy colonel attempted a previously untested rescue mission to get them out.
By trekking into the New Guinea jungle, visiting remote villages, and rediscovering the crash site, Zuckoff also captures the contemporary natives’ remembrances of the long-ago day when strange creatures fell from the sky. A riveting work of narrative nonfiction that vividly brings to life an odyssey at times terrifying, enlightening, and comic, Lost in Shangri-La is a thrill ride from beginning to end.
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Just after the crash, I couldn't get the story out of my head, so I had to finish it fast... Excellent, unforgettable book!
The descriptions of how a hidden valley, unknown to 99.9% of the worlds during World War Two is fascinating on its own lever. This area is smack dab in the middle of Papua/New Guinea. While the world is being laid to waste, there is a hidden society under the noses of the Japanese and Allies.
The original, modern day explorer, Richard Archbold would be the first in the twentieth century do travel to the interior of this lost country. Colonel Ray Elsmore would follow up in1944, one year before the ill-fated crash of the Gremlin Special.
What should have been a normal sight-seeing tour turned into anything but. The plane, for whatever reason, plowed into a cliff killing nineteen of the twenty-four passengers in a fiery crash.
John McCollum Ken Decker, Margaret Hastings, Earl Walter Jr. became the only three to walk away. Two other passengers survived yet hung on for only a short time from massive burns and internal bleeding.
Enter Captain Earl Walter Jr. His father was becoming a hero in his own right as he stayed behind after the Philippine Islands fell and organized a guerilla force to fight the Japanese.
Jr. wanted nothing more than to get into the fray. Yet circumstances and the progress of the war were keeping him in the rear. When he was approached about the crash site and the difficulties of getting to the survivors with no feasible exit plan, he jumped at the opportunity.
For most of us who have read countless World War Two accounts, this seems trivial and almost unbelievable. How could an area be this isolated in the twentieth century? There were no roads. The closest lake is thirty miles away. The jungle terrain is virgin territory and the inhabitants are known or thought to be cannibalistic. Now, how many volunteers do we have?
Top that off, two of the survivors have debilitating injuries. Margaret has third degree burns on her calves and face. Decker has a terrible head gash. Both of their wounds become gangrenous.
An excellent tale of survival, ingenuity and the fighting spirit.
I highly recommend this work to any World War Two buff!
I found myself reading when I should have been asleep. I haven't done that since I was a child, hiding under the covers, reading by the dull glow of the flashlight, praying my mom wouldn't catch me, at least not until I finished the next chapter! She usually caught me!
Anyway, there's much to admire about these people, native and military, and the writer gives each person a complete fleshing out.
Even the smallest detail, culled from old records, or a personal recollection was given its own liveliness.
It took true grit to survive the incredible ordeal that was thrust upon them. They not only survived, they triumphed!
The most poignant of all the scenes portrayed, is the solemn funeral service held in air.
Not only did I thoroughly enjoy this book, I liked it so much, I sent it to a loved one as a present.