Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4
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2 Star

(31)

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(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

23 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

Fantastic and Fascinating Read!

I received an ARC of this book and thought that the summary sounded intriguing. A group of soldiers and WAC's take a scenic plane tour of New Guinea's Hidden Valley, but the plane crashes leaving 3 survivors. They then realize they are not alone in the valley when they ...
I received an ARC of this book and thought that the summary sounded intriguing. A group of soldiers and WAC's take a scenic plane tour of New Guinea's Hidden Valley, but the plane crashes leaving 3 survivors. They then realize they are not alone in the valley when they meet Stone Age tribesmen who have never before seen white people. The story is crafted from journal entries, photographs, and interviews with the author as we follow the heroic rescue of the survivors and the harrowing details of their survival in a new world. I thought the book was fantastic and very interesting. To think all of this really happened and I'd never heard of the story before, it's one of those secret treasures you never know existed. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good non-fiction read.

posted by AKinderman on April 19, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Disappointing

I expected more of an exiting tale of headhunters and drama, but instead this read more like a documentary about life on an island during WWII. Although historically interesting, it really didn't have the drama I was expecting with friendly natives, not savage headhunt...
I expected more of an exiting tale of headhunters and drama, but instead this read more like a documentary about life on an island during WWII. Although historically interesting, it really didn't have the drama I was expecting with friendly natives, not savage headhunters as anticipated for this area. I should have passed on this one, not a cliff hanger by any stretch.

posted by EHSFLY on August 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    Fantastic and Fascinating Read!

    I received an ARC of this book and thought that the summary sounded intriguing. A group of soldiers and WAC's take a scenic plane tour of New Guinea's Hidden Valley, but the plane crashes leaving 3 survivors. They then realize they are not alone in the valley when they meet Stone Age tribesmen who have never before seen white people. The story is crafted from journal entries, photographs, and interviews with the author as we follow the heroic rescue of the survivors and the harrowing details of their survival in a new world. I thought the book was fantastic and very interesting. To think all of this really happened and I'd never heard of the story before, it's one of those secret treasures you never know existed. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good non-fiction read.

    23 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Narrative History at its Best

    "Lost in Shangri-La" by Mitchell Zuckoff is a non-fiction book about a plane crash in Dutch New Guinea during World War II. This book is narrative history at its best.

    Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea was a strategic area during World War II, General McArthur made it his headquarters before the Philippines invasion. However, life was rough in Hollandia and the soldiers worked hard. To raise moral Colonel Peter Prossen gave the soldiers a treat - a sightseeing tour, from the air, of a lost valley unknown to cartographers complete with natives.
    The valley was nicknamed Shangri-La

    During one trip the transport plane crashed, killing almost everyone on board. The others had to fend for themselves in a hostile environment hoping rescue is on its way.

    "Lost in Shangri-La" by Mitchell Zuckoff is a gripping book which takes a hold of you from page one, and doesn't let go until the very end. Mr. Zuckoff makes history comes alive by introducing the reader to the survivors, those who died, the rescuers, friends and family. I was so engrossed in the book I felt almost as if my friends were the ones on the ground.

    Mr. Zuckoff relies on personal diaries, interviews, declassified documents, film footage and more to bring this mesmerizing tale to life. This book is not a glorification of the US Army or World War II, after all - a military plane crashed during a joy ride. But the book is about the human spirit.

    Focusing on the survivors, WAC Corporal Margaret Hastings, Lieutenant John McCollom, and Sergeant Kenneth Decker, the author pays particular attention not to tell the story solely from their point of view, but also gives much do credit to the unsung heroes, the paratroopers, medics, support personnel and the natives.

    The natives play a huge part in the book, one could say that the rescue wouldn't have been successful without their involvement. Mr. Zuckoff does a fantastic job researching and trying to understand their complex culture. I don't know if anyone involved realized how fragile the rescue was due to the terrain and the permanent state of war between the natives.

    The real strength of the book is the characterization of the real-life figures, not only of the soldiers involved, but also of the natives whose lives have been forever changed. Each one is written about in a very personal way which makes you want to jump in the pages and shake their hands.

    After letting the readers know how each member of the huge cast faired off, the book ends on a very thought provoking note. The natives' lives were disrupted, even though their way of living seemed primitive to us, it worked for them. In a few short decades their way of life barely exists, proud warriors now pose for photos and their land destroyed for minerals.

    20 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    Disappointing

    I expected more of an exiting tale of headhunters and drama, but instead this read more like a documentary about life on an island during WWII. Although historically interesting, it really didn't have the drama I was expecting with friendly natives, not savage headhunters as anticipated for this area. I should have passed on this one, not a cliff hanger by any stretch.

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    C+ book at best

    Wow, looking at all those stars. This had to be a good book. This should be a book of about 100 pages or so. Even then it's an over-hyped story of "danger" and "drama" that just doesn't deliver on the facts. THe first 75 pages or so, and the last chapter are worth reading (but not by much), while the middle half of the book is just laborious detail about inconsequential detail. "We woke up, ate potatoes for breakfast, looked into the air for the next air drop, and tried to stay dry." Over and over again. OK. We got that. You know there is a problem when you're skipping paragraph after paragraph of mind-numbing filler info that has little or no relationship to the fundamental story. Every possible detail about each character's past is included (family life as a child, civilian business ventures starts and fails, previous marriages etc etc etc. The writing itself is fine (actually good). The problem with this book is the story itself and all the filler info. Not all that interesting, and definitely not as dramatic an event in history as portrayed.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Good stuff

    I really enjoyed this. I was slight reluctant to read it after finishing Unbroken a few months ago but this is not painful to read like that was. The few photos slipped in literally bring the characters to life and drives home how amazing a true story can be.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    Riveting

    I read this book in two days-it was such a compelling story. The author vividly portrayed the the main characters and geographic setting. This was one of those books that leaves one wishing it hadn't ended.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2012

    I liked the book for what the author intended. I love reading so

    I liked the book for what the author intended. I love reading some of these posts who are so critical of the book. I don't recognize any of them as authors. This is a true story that was painstakingly put together without the added flourishes that some readers want. I recommend they read fiction and don't look to finding their thrills in a writing that IS more a documentary as not.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Good yarn, simply written

    Simply written story of a little known event in World War 2, it is a fun read. However, it doesn't give an honest portrayal of the enormous errors made nor what happened to the men who made them.I also feel that the life of the natives could have been developed in greater depth and a greater exploration of the effects on them could have been made.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Writing was fairly mediocre.

    A bit drawn out and repetitive. Writing wasn't very exciting. Irony of the story was that they were all out for a joy ride during the war!
    The natives were far more interesting then the survivors. Doesn't compare w/ "Unbound"

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Not bad overall particlarly at the right price

    With such an exciting title andsummary, I was expecting a bit more. An interesting story but the actual writing style was not great reading. I began to lose interest about half to two rhirds through the book. I think this is an ok purchase at a reduced price but not full price that I paid.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2011

    One of the best books I've ever read!

    Wow, this is one of the most exciting books I've ever read. The author, Mitchell Zuckoff, kept me hanging on every word. This is a very well written book. It is based on a true story and what a story it is. Also, check out the author's website to see the original film footage of this remarkable story of survival and rescue. The other reviewers go into more detail but all I have to say it, buy the book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Outstanding

    I just finished this book and I am filled with the memory and spirit of all those heroes. What an amazing story of determination and dedication. Though initially tragic, the survivors go on to exhibit such determination and their rescuers were so strong willed and generous, you can't help but be uplifted by this amazing story. I feel filled with pride for all of them and I am so happy that I read this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Uneven

    The story of Shangri-la is great. But it is mired in copious backstory. Every character you meet is fleshed out documentary style based on the author's interviews. Then you are plopped right back at the point in the journey you left off, and reminded of the back story when it becomes relevant. It's a 125 page story buried in a 350 page archive.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2011

    Fascinating story!

    This is so well written and impeccably researched. I felt like I knew many of people by the end of the book. And it gives insight not only into a completely foreign culture but also into American culture during World War II.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Wonderful book!

    Having grown up hearing stories about the jungles of New Guinea from my beloved hero, my dad, a WWII AAF radioman on a C47 in Hollandia, Lae, & Port Moresby, I really looked forward to reading this book. I was NOT disappointed!! Not only did I feel like I was there with the survivors, but I could see all of the things my dad had told me about, & for a little while he was right here with me again. Thank you Mitchell Zuckoff for a fantastic glimpse back into an incredible story that was at times terrifying, sad, entertaining, and uplifting!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Another interesting magazine article pumped up to book length.

    I don't need to know how many of what size bolts, nuts and rivets Charley Johnson personally placed on the 1941 model xxx Douglas DC3 that crashed in the jungle before he went home and played with his dog because they had nothing to do with the situation. This would have been a fine magazine length story but the author has padded it up with paragraphs of boring detail about every object, person or place involved. This seems to be a formula for making a book out of a short subject. If you like this one you will like "The Golden Spruce", it's written the same way by a different author.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Thank you for such a great book!

    To the author,

    I heard you on the John Batchelor show and was intrigued with the teasers you gave. It took a while before I found it on my nook color, but once I did I was not disappointed! I am a geek and am more likely to read a manual or just the news - this was riveting and a true gift to readers. Thank you!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2011

    Recommended for World War II books.

    The book was of particular enterest to me since the WAC was a lady from a town afew miles from home. Also, my brother was a Marine in area at the time. The book was not really of much historical value.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Highly Recommend this book

    After seeing Mitchell Zuckoff on Jon Stewart's show, I had to buy this book. It's a great story of survival during WWII. If you are a WWII history buff, I recommend this book. You will not be disappointed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    I have no idea

    Well, I'd like to read it but it's too large to download with out a wi-fi. I commute 70 miles to work with no wi-fi there. B&N is another 20 minutes out of my way, plus stopping to down load it. So I tried to side load it, but its protected by some DRN.

    Hoping to get a refund.

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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