Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

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9780061988349: Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

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 riv

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An utterly gripping nonfiction adventure narrative, Lost in Shangri-La is an untold true story of war, survival, discovery, heroism, and a near-impossible rescue mission.

Three months before the end of World War II, a U.S. Army plane flying over New Guinea crashed in uncharted mountains inhabited by a Stone Age tribe. Nineteen passengers and crew were killed and two were mortally wounded. But somehow three survived: a lieutenant whose twin brother died in the crash, a sergeant who suffered terrible head wounds, and a beautiful member of the Women's Army Corps.

Hurt, unarmed and afraid, they prayed for deliverance – from their wounds, from the elements, and from the spear-carrying, Dani tribesmen who roamed the mountains, men who were untouched by modernity. For seven weeks, the survivors experienced one remarkable adventure after another, until they were rescued in a truly incredible mission.

Using a huge range of sources, including first hand accounts from the survivors themselves, Mitchell Zukoff exposes the enlightening and terrifying adventure of three individuals lost on unknown soil and the relationships they built not only with each other, but also with a lost civilization.

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-A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush andimpenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them a dame withgreat gams, for heaven's sake), a startling rescue mission. . . . This is atrue story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew--what an utterly compelling and deeplysatisfying read!- --Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic

Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoffunleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War IIrescue 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 Cityof Z will be captivated by Zuckoff's masterfullyrecounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery injungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.

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