Beth's Reviews > Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

Lost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff
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Mar 19, 12

Read in March, 2012

I read this because it is about flying around the time the US is planning to end World War II with an atomic bomb. It details how various people deal with the emergency of a downed plane wreck and its survivors. In the unexplored, uncharted interior of Dutch New Guinea, a WAC (Margaret Hastings), a twin (John McCollom) and a Technical Sargent(Kenneth Decker),become the only three crash survivors because they were in the rear of the C47 when it landed, burned and broke up. The surrounding jungle is way too inhospitable for a plane or boat rescue. Margaret and Ken are badly burned and wounded. John doesn't take time to mourn his twin who died in the wreck but immediately takes over the situation. He takes them all to a bare open spot (think sweet potato field) where rescue planes might see the trio.

The reader is treated to the reaction of the stone age natives who find them and think they are Gods because their culture had a story about white gods returning someday.

Other reactions are those of people who must plan or carry out a rescue. Most facinatinbg to me after reading about several months of supplies and medics being air dropped into the area was the solution of how to get everyone out. The idea was from an army captain who wanted to see more action and thought if he was a media hero, he might get sent to the front.

If you think of an aircraft carrier and how the planes must land by being hooked on it as they fly by, you can imagine how the solution of getting out was resolved. A plane towed a glider to near the wreck site and left it. The people on the ground added a hook structure to the glider. The a plane came in flying very low and hooked onto the glider and yanked it off the ground carrying several people at a time.

I can just imagine the number of trips and the media coverage the author described. As a journalist teacher, the author writes journalistically so that the reader feels like they are experienced the situation in real time.

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