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

by Mitchell Zuckoff

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On May 13, 1945, 24 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 best-selling 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.

Customer Reviews

Lost in Shangri-La

Best book I have listened to this year! This is an action-packed non-fiction that reads like fiction, a wonderful addition to the WWII books being written now. The author/reader has a great voice.

Lost in Shangri La

Bought as an audiobook from ITunes ....first half was excellent but recording stopped after that point. My guess is that the file was corrupted in download process but there appears to be no recourse except buying another copy.

To Tusker 1

Delete the audiobook, and then redownload it via iBooks Purchased button. That way you deleted the old corrupt one and get a fresh copy. No need to purchase it again.

Mitchell Zuckoff, Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, And the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (Unabridged)
View in iTunes $23.95
  • Narrator: Mitchell Zuckoff
  • Published: 2011
  • Category: History
  • Provider: HarperAudio
  • Presented by

Customer Ratings