D. Martin'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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Aug 12, 12

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There's a promise of tension and excitement when you hear of a story involving a WWII military pleasure flight that crashes in an inaccessible New Guinea mountain valley. The valley is said to be the home of hostile, head-hunting, and cannibalistic tribes. The "modern" world has yet to chart the area because it's so difficult to get into (and out of). Most die in the crash, and many of the rest shortly thereafter. Only three remain, and now they have to fight their way back to civilization. Exciting, right? Filled with tension and emotion, right?

Unfortunately, no so much. Zuckoff takes so many side turns in the narrative that any suspense is lost in page after page of Philippino politics, engineering background, droning tribal histories, and unrelated childhood back stories. And when we do return to the story, it turns out that it's simply not that exciting. I'm sure it was a harrowing experience for the survivors of The Gremlin Special, and I mean them no disrespect, but a reader of Lost in Shangri-La may find the events anti-climatic and Zuckoff’s presentation somewhat tedious.

There simply wasn't enough to the story to keep me interested through most of the book’s length. This would've been better served as a single chapter in a book on military rescues or non-combat war stories.

2.5 stars rounded up to 3.
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