(Winship/PEN New England Award Winner) American servicemen John McCollom and Kenneth Decker and WAC corporal Margaret Hastings were the only survivors of a transport plane that crashed in the mountain jungles of Dutch New Guinea in 1945. In a riveting account worthy of an action-adventure serial, Mitchell Zuckoff tells of their encounter with Stone Age warriors and the army's elaborate rescue mission.
"Lost in Shangri-La is the most thrilling book, fiction or nonfiction, that I have read since I can't remember when."—Seattle Times
"Mitchell Zuckoff has uncovered, and vividly reconstructed, such an astonishing tale.... Zuckoff skillfully builds narrative tension and deft character portraits.... He has pulled off a remarkable feat—and held the reader firmly in the grip."—Washington Post
"When an Army transport plane crashed in a remote, mountainous region of Dutch New Guinea in the waning days of World War II, only three of the two dozen passengers survived: a sergeant who sustained a serious head wound, a lieutenant who lost his twin brother in the crash and an improbably beautiful WAC corporal. They'd come down in a valley populated by Stone Age tribesmen who practiced ritual cannibalism and regarded their visitors as eccentric spirits heralding the dawn of a new way of life. The surrounding mountains made rescuing the survivors a logistical nightmare, so a crack team of Filipino-American paratroopers was dropped in to help out. (Eventually, the Army settled on a hair-raisingly risky glider operation to extract them.) Zuckoff's muscular yet sensitive account of the crash and rescue is exciting but never sensational, and richly researched—he even interviews some of the surviving tribes people to learn their side of the story. (One's still mad about the airdrop that killed her pig.) This is the sort of outrageous-but-true adventure story that seems to tell itself—until you've seen a few writers blow it. Zuckoff gets it just right."—Salon.com