Laura'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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's review
Jul 15, 2012

it was amazing
Read in June, 2012

As I turned the last page, I felt a certain sadness, ending what I felt was an amazing journey into the past with a group of survivors in the once unknown world of a lost civilization deep in the wild jungles of New Guinea. This book fascinated and enthralled me. It made me cry, laugh, cringe, and wonder. Without a doubt this is one of the best books I've read in 2012! I read parts of it in the car as my hubby drove and would recount what I was reading to him. Throughout the following days he kept asking, “So what's happening with the survivors now?”

Zuckoff has managed the feat of putting together the true story of how, in May of 1945, three people (two men and one woman all serving in the US Army) survived and were rescued from a plane crash in the middle of an impenetrable jungle in what was then uncharted territory populated by treacherous mountains that opened up to a never-before-seen valley scattered with the villages of cannibal tribesmen. Zuckoff is a master writer, capturing and recounting the day-to-day unfolding of the tragedy that turned into an adventure so that as a reader I felt I was living it with them.

Using the diary entries of Corporal Margaret Hastings (one of the survivors), the eyewitness accounts of the leader of the paratroopers that was sent in to rescue them and even the people of the tribes who remembered the day the white people fell from the sky, we are swept away into the world of WWII, Army outposts in foreign and dangerous but exotic lands, and the harrowing experience of three survivors with life-threatening burns and wounds who meet for the first time in history a lost people.

Although non-fiction, the narrative is suspenseful, riveting and touching. Zuckoff does not use sensationalism, and we get an honest portrayal as seen through the eyes of the survivors, rescuers and tribespeople. Zuckoff also gives background information of the various men and women, making this very much a story about ordinary, yet extraordinary men and women.

Zuckoff's research is impeccable with over 40 end pages of notes on sources and methods. The book also includes letters and emails from the families of those directly involved with this story who read this book and felt compelled to write to the author. By the end of the book, I felt I knew the cast of people who had been a part of this amazing and almost unbelievable story. This one is a keeper on my bookshelf and one that I will re-read again. Highly recommended to all who love stories of survival and the wonders of lost civilizations.
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05/19/2017 marked as: read

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