On May 13, 1945, twenty-four officers and enlisted men and women stationed on what was then Dutch New Guinea boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip over “Shangri-La.” A beautiful and mysterious valley surrounded by steep, jagged mountain peaks deep within the island’s uncharted jungle, this hidden retreat was named after the fabled paradise in the bestselling novel Lost Horizon. But unlike the peaceful Tibetan monks of James Hilton’s book, this Shangri-La was the home of Stone Age warriors—spear-carrying tribesmen rumored to be headhunters and cannibals. But the pleasure tour became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed. Miraculously, three passengers survived—WAC Corporal Margaret Hastings, Lieutenant John McCollom, and Sergeant Kenneth Decker. Mitchell Zuckoff reveals how the determined trio—dehydrated, sick, and in pain—traversed the dense jungle foliage to find help. A riveting work of narrative nonfiction that vividly brings to life an odyssey at times terrifying, enlightening, and comic, Lost in Shangri-La is a thrill ride from beginning to end. Drawn from personal interviews, declassified Army documents, personal photos and mementos, a daily journal kept between the crash and the rescue effort, and original film footage, Lost in Shangri-La recounts this incredible true-life adventure for the first time.
Listen to the Book Buzz!Virginia Stanley
Director, Library Marketing