Title: Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the most incredible rescue Mission of WWII
Author: : Mitchell Zuckoff
Review: I am a sucker for WWII stories and I have been dying to read this book every since I saw the title pop up on my kindle. The book isn't just about the survival of three people from a plane crash in Papua New Guinea it is also about a race and culture that was still basically living in the stone age.
The story starts off with 24 enlisted personnel winning a chance to fly over "Shangria-La" as part of a way to boast morale on the military base Hollandia. Mitchel introduces all 24 personnel along with their different back stories so when the accident occurs you will likely have connected with someone that might have survived. The author gives you a feel for military life in New Guinea and how men and women were treated on the base.
Mitchel takes the reader though terrifying and heart breaking details of the crash and how only 3 were able to survive in the worst conditions imaginable during the first few hours after the crash. Of the three survivors only one was unharmed and the other two were seriously burned and one with a head injury but no one knew how bad it was. The three set off in hope the military would find them in the dense jungle but as they walked the more irritated the burns became. Once they found a clearing the burned victims realized they had developed gangrene and knew if help didn't arrive they would lose body parts and possibly even their lives. Once they found a clearing they all realized that they were near the native village they had been flying over and with all the horror stories of headhunters they were in fear of their lives.
As the story progress the author took many pages of one of the survivors journals and used that to paint a colorful pictures of how they survived and how the natives treated them until paratroopers could come to their rescue. Once the medical paratroopers arrive to help save the burned victims we learned of the painful way they removed gangrene from the burn victims bodies. The small band of men and one woman had to hike out of the jungle and back to their military base knowing they could run into cannibals, rough terrain and possibly even hidden Japanese units waiting for their chance at glory. I am going to leave the details of the true rescue a secret for those who haven't read the book, so they can enjoy every second.
This is a true story which makes it so easy to connect with the different individuals and their struggles. Knowing that this is a part of history, something you can touch and visit, makes this story even more fantastic than it already was.
Thank you Heidi for this review.
Thank you Heidi for this review.
Publisher: Published April 26th 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2011)
Quick Review: 5 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Sent by the publisher for review through the TLC Book Tour.
Synopsis: "A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush and impenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them "a dame with great gams," for heaven's sake), a startling rescue mission. . . . This is a true story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew--what an utterly compelling and deeply satisfying read " --Simon Winchester, author of "Atlantic"
Award-winning former "Boston Globe" reporter Mitchell Zuckoff unleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War II rescue 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 City of Z "will be captivated by Zuckoff's masterfully recounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery in jungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.
Author Biography: Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University. He is the author of Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II. His previous books are: Robert Altman: The Oral Biography, one of Amazon.com's "Best Books of 2009"; Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend, a New York Times Editors' Choice book; and Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey, which received the Christopher Award and was named a Massachusetts Honor Book. He is co-author of Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders, which was a finalist for the Edgar Award.
Zuckoff's magazine work has appeared in The New Yorker, Fortune, and other national and regional publications. He is a former special projects reporter for The Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting. He received the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Livingston Award for International Reporting, the Heywood Broun Award, and the Associated Press Managing Editors' Public Service Award, among other national honors. He lives outside Boston.