A New York Times bestseller and the winner of the Winship/PEN New England Award, Lost in Shangri-La is “a truly incredible adventure” (New York Times Book Review) about three brave survivors of a WWII plane crash in the jungle.
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 ebook also includes an excerpt from Mitchell Zuckoff’s New York Times bestseller Frozen in Time.
About the Author:
Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University. He is the author of Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II, Robert Altman: An Oral Biography, Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend, Judgment Ridge: The True Story of the Dartmouth Murders, with Dick Lehr, Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey, and 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting, and the winner of numerous national awards as a reporter for The Boston Globe. He lives outside Boston.
It has great detail and the amount of heartbreaking facts in in it about WW2 makes you feel like your in the story yourself!55
Fascinating account of a little known story of survival and acceptance between very disparate people. Raw humanity throughout!55
True story, well researched, reads like a piece of good fiction. Clearly justifies that generation’s title “The Greatest”.55
Outstanding first book I've read in a long time due to eye issues but I'm so happy I read this one55
Very compelling read. A true story of courage and fortitude in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.55
Zuckoff sends you on a journey through Shangri-La in such a way that you feel as though you experienced the two-month ordeal with the survivors and rescuers. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading tales of adventure.55
I enjoyed reading this book although "true historical" books are not usually my choice of reading material. I thought it was a bit tiresome to read at times with too much military information, but since it was a true story, I can see the importance of including it in the story. Anyone interested in true military stories would really enjoy this book.45
This was a good read~captivating from the 1st page. I appreciated the photos throughout the book, helping to keep the growing cast fresh.45
Loved reading about these heroes. Nothing like being dumped in a jungle complete with primative natives.55
Nice rainy day, cozy up with this book of survival. As many events are simply unplanned, this started out as a simple ride to uncharted territory. It turned out to be a test of survival, a woman shows her total ability to adapt to the situation and the men who survived with her. Many hero's in this story, the best comes through - as it always does. We don't hear much about everyday hero's today, but it is in each of us, when we volunteer, help strangers, just be nice when it isn't called for. So this story is about all us, in a way. A good read, thoughtful.55