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Lost Horizon

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  18,122 ratings  ·  1,602 reviews
James Hilton’s bestselling adventure novel about a military man who stumbles on the world’s greatest hope for peace deep in Tibet: Shangri-La.

Hugh Conway saw humanity at its worst while fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Now, more than a decade later, Conway is a British diplomat serving in Afghanistan and facing war yet again—this time, a civil conflict for
Kindle Edition, 142 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Open Road Media (first published 1933)
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Tor Saint (Bookshelf Friends) Agreed! Just finished reading Lost Horizon and that’s blurb is full of errors unfortunately. I did really enjoy the book though!

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Henry Avila
Skyjacked! Unheard of in the early 1930's, yet it did happen to four passengers in Afghanistan, during a civil conflict there sounds sadly familiar. A "mad" Asian pilot with a gun does, flying east into the tallest mountains in the world. The aircraft goes above, around and hopefully not through them, a spectacular view for those with the guts to look, beautiful the Himalayas and frightening too. Tibet an almost unknown country with few visitors who return back home to report their findings, the ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top, i-said
In 1931, four people, including Glory Conway, escape the political unrest in Baskul, China by boarding a plane, bound for Peshawar. The plane, however, much to their dismay, has been hijacked and eventually crash lands deep in the far reaches of the Tibetan Himalayas. Seeking shelter, the group soon finds themselves in the valley of the blue moon, guests at a lamasery, called Shangri-La.

Reading this is like stepping slowly into a hot, fragrant bath while strains of your own audio preferences del
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Explorers/adventurers of any kind, anyone who wants to hear a damn good story
Shelves: must-read-again
The last time I loved a book as much as I loved this one was when I read Dune. Even though Dune is considered one of the masterworks of science fiction, I'm not really a sci-fi kind of girl, per se, I just love places that are so well-imagined by the author that you can't believe they're not real SOMEWHERE. Lost Horizon presents Shangri-La as such a place.

More personally, though, I read this book at the precise right moment in my life. Conway, the main character, has a sort of dispassionate det
Will Byrnes
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun read. They did a pretty good job with the film. Given that Hilton was a major screenwriter that makes sense. It is very Victorian in its feel, a sort of Kipling-esque yarn, in which depression era westerners find themselves in a version of paradise. The place is rather communistic, with elements of free love that no doubt raised some eyebrows when it was published. On the other hand, the place is run by a Belgian cleric. On the other hand, their motto is all things in moderation, e ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
I hummed Lara’s Theme while reading most of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago a couple of years back. Similarly, the first two lines of this Burt Bacharach-composition was inside my ears while reading this book.
♪♫♪Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the air you breathe is soft and clean
And children play in fields of green
And the sound of guns
Doesn't pound in your ears (anymore)

♪♫♪Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the winter winds will never blow
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
During British colonial days,four
westerners are on their way to Peshawar in an aircraft when their pilot takes them to the mountains of Tibet,where the aircraft crashes.They are rescued and taken to a lamasery.

It does have some beautiful writing,when describing the mountain scenery. For a while,I remained fairly interested to know why the four people were brought to Shangri La,and were being held there,against their will.

But when the mystery was revealed,it felt like an anti-climax. It also too
Aug 23, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Run the other way!
Recommended to Amanda by: Trey Brewer
For the life of me, I have no idea why anyone dearly loves this book. The narrative is plodding, the characters boring and unsympathetic, and the ending--don't get me started on the ending. This was a book club selection that I was actually excited about since its setting is the mystical Shangri-La. I thought it would be an Indiana Jones-esque action and adventure in an exotic Asian setting. What I got instead was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Boring Tibetans. There's no action; all they ...more
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers interested in fiction from that period
Recommended to Werner by: It was a common read in one of my Goodreads groups
Like some other books, this is one that I read only because it was picked as a common read in one of my Goodreads groups. While I'd heard of it before, it had never struck me as something I wanted to read. In some cases, books I read this way proved to be five-star reads. This one didn't impress me to that extent; but I did ultimately like it well enough to give it three stars, and found it thought-provoking on various levels.

It's a somewhat challenging book to review, and even to classify. With
Connie G
Hugh Conway, a veteran of the Great War and a British diplomat, told a novelist friend an incredible story. He and three other people were being evacuated from a rebellion in Baskul when their plane was hijacked and flown to Tibet. After they crash landed in the frigid, windy mountains, their dying pilot told them to go to the lamasery of Shangri-La. The four passengers were guided there by porters and a postulant from the lamasery. After winding through dangerous mountain passes for hours, they ...more
Fred Shaw
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Four passengers hurriedly boarded a small single engine plane to leave Afghanistan. Two Englishmen, one English woman and an American male were escaping the war as it escalated in the 1930’s. The plane though small, was powerful and was specially built to fly at 25000 ft. and above, though unheard of at the time. The pilot acted mysteriously and flew in a different direction than expected. After refueling in a obscure runway in the desert, the plane headed toward Tibet and the high mountains. Fl ...more
This short book is regarded a classic, and I found it quite enjoyable.

Commencing in Persia, where a plane preparing for evacuation is hijacked and flown of route. Eventually, it is established by the abducted persons that they are in the Tibetan Himalaya, and the plane attempts to land, crashing and killing the pilot / kidnapper, leaving our main characters stranded. A British consul, his deputy, a (female) missionary, an American financier are 'rescued' and taken to a Tibetan monastery (Shangri
Oct 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Lost Horizons is a very silly, dumb book, but charming and fun for all that.

It's racist and sexist, in that casual and unmalicious way that you see in, like, Mad Men. The "hard, mocking, sex-thirsty voices of women" are mentioned at one point, and the inhabitants of Shangri-La are described as "cleaner and handsomer than the average" Chinese. Compare it to Sax Rohmer's The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu from 30 years previous: that book is obsessed with the danger of cunning, diabolical Chinamen, while
It wasn't until I finished the story and read the Afterword that I realized that this book was written by the same guy who wrote Goodbye, Mr. Chips, another story I had pretty much put out of my mind. Much, I think, like I expect to happen with this one.

So, okay, here's Shangri-La. We all know the name, but this is where it started. And that's fine. Shangri-La is this utopian society-place in the Himalayan area, where the inhabitants are almost immortal. It's supposed to be this perfect society
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best book I've read, but certainly one of the more magical ones. It does cast a spell. I was a bit surprised at the WW I element in "Lost Horizon." Hugh Conway, the emotionally damaged hero of the novel, is a part of the Lost Generation. Hilton's turning his Valley of the Blue Moon into a kind of post-War Brigadoon is a brilliant one, especially since he sandwiches events between the known war and the worse one Hilton foresees as coming. I'm sure others in 1933, when the novel was publis ...more
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chris Walters, Harry Haladjian
The plane that launched a thousand derivatives...

Before there was the ABC juggernaut that is LOST, there was James Hilton's afternoon read Lost Horizon. This fantastical tale, billed as the first paperback, introduced four characters, and a world audience, to Shangri-La, a time capsule of knowledge and wisdom hidden in the crevasses of the Himalayas.

The conceit: a plane crashes and the motley crew of survivors (two British officials, and American, and a missionary) are left to fend for themselv
antiquarian reverie
Again I am reading a novel that I saw the movie long ago that Frank Capra's 1937 Lost Horizon version with Ronald Coleman and Jane Wyatt and also my favorite Edward Everett Horton. Both are wonderful but like always the book has more into Conway's mind than in the movie. There are also romantic and plot differences but the jist of the story is priceless and Capra does a great job. It is also interesting that in Hilton's Random Harvest (Ronald Coleman was in that one too) and Lost Horizon deals w ...more
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, re-read
This was a reread for book club, but I enjoyed it as much as I did (1990) 26 years ago!
It's not too long. It's kind of mysterious. It was first published in 1933 which I think is an interesting era. It's about 4 people who get kidnapped and accidentally end up in Shangri-La. Or do they? I enjoyed it :)
Also, the same author wrote Goodbye, Mr. Chips, it's a good one too!
Laurel Hicks
Hilton's beautiful tale is hard to classify. It reminds me, in a way, of "The Twenty-One Balloons," by William Pène du Bois, and in another, curious way, of C.S. Lewis's "Till We Have Faces." I do know that I want to go back to Shangri-La. ...more
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, utopian
A beautiful story set deep with in the Himalayans, sits a mysterious place known only to a few as Shangri-La.

Four people are kidnapped in a plane and land in the unknown regions of Tibet. There they embark on a physical and spiritual journey to a Utopian society of Lamas living deep within the beautiful mountains of the east. Here they are learning about transcending their lives to something wonderous and more meaningful.

Our story opens when our lead character, Conway, is found in a hospital by
Samantha Glasser
After seeing Frank Capra's film version of this book, I had to read James Hilton's novel. The book and the film are very similar, so my love for the film has transferred to the original work. Lost Horizon is the story of four people, an American, a young British soldier, a middle-aged British man, and a female missionary, who have the misfortune of being kidnapped on an airplane. They are crashed near a mysterious and dismal mountain somewhere in Tibet, and all seems to be lost to them, includin ...more
[To fully capture my moment of reading this book and re-watching Frank Capra's 1937 film version of Lost Horizon simultaneously, I've penned a mighty review of both that exceeds the Goodreads 20,000-character limit. To get around this, I have posted the rest in my personal writing section, where it fits snugly. It can be found: here. First part of the review starts here. Continuation link is below.]

In 1937, director Frank Capra made a masterful, heart-rending movie out of James Hilton's immensel
Susan's Reviews
Loved the crisp writing style, but boy, this author's world view does not stand the test of time.

Ironic that the author writes about Utopia but doesn't realize that he too has a long way to go before attaining ultimate enlightenment and freedom from the world's chains of greed and bigotry.

I was inspired to read this book as a youngster because of the second movie adaptation of this novel. In retrospect, the musical version that I saw was so "lightweight" in comparison to the 1930's Frank Capra
Thomas Holbrook
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There are reasons books become classics. They speak with a voice that is ageless, have a plot that reflects the human experience and/or connects with a deep part of the psyche. Reading a classic work of literature for the first time is akin to discovering an unknown family member - someone who: expresses a familiarity of experience that is rooted in genetics, needs no explanation or translation to be understood and is a friend upon meeting. When this classic was offered by one of my dealers, th ...more
I'm sure most people are familiar with the basic story of Lost Horizon, and of course everyone knows the concept of "Shangri-La," but I'm not sure how many people have actually read the book. I certainly hadn't, but was surprised that it still holds up fairly well, (and is far better than either the original 1937 film version of the execrable 1973 remake as a musical - although the latter did have a very nice theme song by the under-appreciated Shawn Phillips).

There is a lot of dialogue here -
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. It is a short read but provokes deep thought and questions about what we want of life and existence. It's very much rooted in the time it was written and, without any direct references, reflects the emotional, societal and physical damage that WWI created and that tipped reality on its axis. It is a sort of adventure story but, be warned, it's not takes a while for both the characters and the reader to get to a point of understanding but its worth the wait. A ver ...more
If you don't believe in Shangri-La, well you might after reading James Hilton's Lost Horizon. Four people on a plane, hijacked and taken to a remote and secret location in the Himalayan mountains where they find a visual and spiritual paradise. A short fantasy, action, adventure. I use the word action loosely. ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it in two days. Enjoyable book with more discussion than action.
Most of the first third of the book happens on the airplane, where the four passengers keep discussing hypotheses for what is happening to them. The second third is getting to know Shangri-La and its mysteries, little by little as they gather information from Chang. In the last one, through a series of conversations with the High Lama which involve history and philosophy, we learn about the founding of the monastery and some of
Vicky Hunt
Lost Horizon is magic and mystery. It tells the story of 4 Westerners who stumble rather forcibly (kidnapping) upon the hidden city of Shangri-La in the Tibetan mountains, in the valley of Blue Moon. This is the original tale of Shangri-La, where all the legends arise. Here in the valley they find no answers to their questions about how to return to civilization. Instead they find reasons not to return. For, though they were brought there against their will, they had been stumbling through life ...more
Marty Reeder
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was part of a book recommendation swap between myself and my brother-in-law. I recommended Ender's Game and he recommended Lost Horizon. I wasn't sure at first if either of us anticipated our tastes in literature very well, but I at least read Lost Horizon with interest.

There is no doubt that it is well written. Hilton is able to tap into the deeper philosophies of life in a non-intrusive yet succinct way that avoids most of the heaviness that accompany philosophical reads. In other words,
Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A British group leaves India in the 1930s by plane, the plane goes down, and thereafter they find themselves in the fabled Shangri-La. In this valley of warmth and beauty in the midst of the Himalayan mountains, they find a people with astounding longevity leading lives of simplicity and wisdom and peace. They eventually find their way out of Shangri-La and back home, but Conway (the main character), consumed by regret for the peace that he left behind, returns in the end.

For me, the power of t
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Return of the Rog...: Lost Horizon by James Hilton 10 20 May 25, 2015 06:57AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Book about a plane crash in Nirvana /s 4 20 Nov 03, 2014 09:46AM  
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Would I enjoy it? 10 35 Sep 23, 2013 04:15AM  
Flawed freedom or blissful imprisonment? 14 67 Apr 26, 2013 12:43AM  

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James Hilton (1900–1954) was a bestselling English novelist and Academy Award–winning screenwriter. After attending Cambridge University, Hilton worked as a journalist until the success of his novels Lost Horizon (1933) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1934) launched his career as a celebrated author. Hilton’s writing is known for its depiction of English life between the two world wars, its celebration of ...more

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