Lost In Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II Paperback – Apr 8 2011
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"In this fitting tribute to one of Hollywood's greatest directors, journalist Mitchell Zuckoff chronicles Altman's remarkable life both in and out of the spotlight. A rebel to the end, Altman's spirit is perfectly captured in this fascinating read. Also, he doesn't mind including some of the real dirt here and there. I liked that choice, and I speculate that Robert Altman would have, too". --Wes Anderson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A sight-seeing plane carrying 24 enlisted passengers across the jungle of modern day New Guinea (who were stationed nearby) crashed and burned leaving a total of three survivors in a remote valley inhabited by tribes who mostly had not seen white men before and still lived in the stone age. This books gives the complete story of these people, enlisted and native. Prior to the fateful plane trip we meet the individuals who will be on board and learn their story, how and why they came to be aboard and some who just barely missed being passengers. We learn of life at the base of Hollandia where they were stationed, paratroopers on standby, enlisted soldiers waiting for deployment to somewhere else (where the action is) and a group of WACS fulfilling their enlisted duties.
We go through terrifying details of how the crash was probably caused though no blame has ever been laid by officials and the gory aftermath of the scene. Of the three survivors, only one is unharmed, the other two have serious burns and other injuries and thus starts their survival story where they eventually meet up with the natives of the land. Mostly a war-like people, but little do the survivors know that they are fulfilling a legend of the natives.
The main focus of the book though, is in the rescue of these people, as others are sent down to tend to their medical needs and set up a base of operations. The valley is surrounded by mountains too high and cross winds too dangerous. It is too narrow for an airstrip landing. The outside terrain is rough, dangerous, inhabited by known cannibalistic tribes and the island is also inhabited by hidden Japanese units.Read more ›
And He works signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth," -- Daniel 6:27 (NKJV)
My dad loved to tell me stories about flying on sightseeing trips all over northern Europe in U.S. Air Corps bombers after Germany surrendered in World War II. His eyes would light up as he described what it was like to sit in the different seats and to imagine what it would have been like during a bombing mission. His stories brought the war to life the terror of war for me in a way that movies and books don't achieve.
I was impressed, then, to find that Mitchell Zuckoff used the same storytelling style that my dad did to tell the story of this sightseeing flight over New Guinea that went oh so wrong. He starts by taking the time to introduce the people with care in a way that makes them into individuals you feel you know and understand. Next, he gets inside the psychology of a situation to explain what kind of thoughts might have been or had been going on in each person's mind. Finally, he does research in the present to tear away the cobwebs of misapprehensions and misunderstandings so that the reader can also see the situation in objective, rather than subjective, ways. I especially appreciated that Mr. Zuckoff did not duck the responsibility to make observations about what was done correctly . . . and what was not . . . by the people he writes about.
If that weren't enough, Mr. Zuckoff takes the story one step further and provides true suspense about what will happen to those involved. I found that he did it so well that I found myself trying to "solve" the mystery of what was coming next . . . as though I were reading a mystery novel.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
“Lost In Shangri-La” is the entrancing story of a joy ride gone bad and the seven week jungle ordeal of the three survivors and their rescuers. Read morePublished 3 months ago by James Gallen
I found this a very long story, but they sure went through a very hard time. I think this would be a great movie but not the best of readsPublished 5 months ago by Marjorie Hallyburton
Most of Lost In Shangri-La is well-written, and all of the tale is a well-researched, and meticulously foot-noted, historical, non-fiction narrative. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Chris Gregory
Towards the end of May 1945, twenty-four American servicemen and WACs boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip over the area they called Shangri-La. Read morePublished 12 months ago by BevW
Absolutely loved this story, especially being non-fiction. Very well researched and written.Published 14 months ago by Brenda J. Piche
Very good book enjoyed it from beginning to the end love this author i'm reading another of is books right now and love it as much has this one.Published 15 months ago by Lorraine Cyr
I got this book because it was free, but what a pleasure to read. it has the flow of the story using helpful historical information.Published 16 months ago by pinky
did not care for this book. it seems they used silly mundane material just to fill pages, such as the background of reporters covering the crash for example. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Darren