Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

83%

35 Critic Reviews

He adds layers of interest by piecing together facts from letters, scrapbooks, film footage, declassified Army documents and other sources.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

“A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush andimpenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them a dame withgreat gams, for heaven's sake), a startling rescue mission. . . . This is atrue story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew—what an utterly compelling and deeplysatisfying read!" —Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic
 
Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoffunleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War IIrescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S.military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor, and David Grann’s The Lost Cityof Z will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfullyrecounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery injungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.
 

About Mitchell Zuckoff

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Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University. He is the author of Robert Altman: The Oral Biography; Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend; and Choosing Naia: A Family's Journey, and is co-author of Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders. Zuckoff is a former special projects reporter for the Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting. He lives outside Boston with his wife, Boston Globe photographer Suzanne Kreiter, and their two daughters.
 
Published March 1, 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers. 400 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 17 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Lost in Shangri-La
All: 35 | Positive: 33 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews. on Feb 01 2011

In this well-crafted book, Zuckoff turns the long-forgotten episode into an unusually exciting narrative. Drawing on the young WAC survivor Margaret Hastings’ diary as well as journals and interviews...

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Mar 14 2011

In our contemporary world of eco-tourism and rain-forest destruction, Zuckoff's book gives a window on a more romantic, and naïve, era.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by MICHAEL WASHBURN on Jun 03 2011

...tells of the first contact between disoriented, combative cultures, one of the final first-contacts in human history. It’s a tale of bravery, loyalty, trust and silly, often frightening miscommunication.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Mar 14 2011

In our contemporary world of eco-tourism and rain-forest destruction, Zuckoff's book gives a window on a more romantic, and naïve, era.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Janice Harayda on Jul 19 2011

He adds layers of interest by piecing together facts from letters, scrapbooks, film footage, declassified Army documents and other sources.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Thom Geier on May 04 2011

Thanks to the author's thorough research, we...have a fuller sense of the culture clash in play.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by DANEET STEFFENS on May 01 2011

Lost in Shangri-La is an entertaining, enjoyable page-turner, ripe for the IMAX screen.

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Christian Science Monitor

Above average
Reviewed by Kelly Nuxoll on Aug 27 2011

...readers seeking a more sharply focused, novelistic approach will likely be disappointed. Zuckoff’s inclinations seem to be expository rather than dramatic, and he offers more facts than scenes.

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Dallas News

Below average
Reviewed by MICHAEL BERRYHILL on Apr 29 2011

Zuckoff and his publishers have high hopes for this book, but it is not nearly as compelling as the current best-selling true story of World War II: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Excellent
Reviewed by Roger K. Miller on Jun 26 2011

Photos are dotted throughout the text, and an epilogue tells the subsequent careers of those involved. "Lost in Shangri-La" is the most thrilling book, fiction or nonfiction, that I have read since I can't remember when.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Roger Miller on Apr 30 2011

The incidents and people themselves make this a riveting story, but they would not be so alive to the reader had the author not made such skillful use of sources, including...interviews with Walter and other aged participants in the adventure.

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Express

Above average
Reviewed by Jeffery Taylor on May 15 2011

Zuckoff...brings his subjects back to life in an in-depth story of human endurance.

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Denver Post

Above average
Reviewed by David Grann on May 25 2011

As with many suspense stories, the build-up of "Lost in Shangri-La" is a bit more enthralling than the denouement. Overall Zuckoff has pulled off a remarkable feat — and held the reader firmly in the grip.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by David Grann on May 20 2011

Ultimately, the encounter between Hastings and her fellow survivors and the inhabitants of the valley is as comic as it is frightening, plagued by misperceptions and miscommunications.

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The New Zealand Herald

Good
Reviewed by Bronwyn Sell on Jul 29 2011

Zuckoff writes with pace and wit, and is a master at creating well-rounded characters, given the restrictions he faced in recreating a largely forgotten event of 65-odd years ago while not veering from the verifiable truth.

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The New Zealand Herald

Above average
Reviewed by Bronwyn Sell on Jul 05 2011

But if, like me, you don't like the story to be given away, don't read the reviews. Don't even read the blurb on the back cover (I've read two paragraphs of it and that was too much). Just read the book. So far I can report (without giving anything away) that it's a cracker of a tale.

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The New Zealand Herald

Excellent
Reviewed by Graham Reid on Jun 13 2011

Zuckoff writes like a film-maker...and keeps the tension going until the improbable rescue.

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Bundaberg Regional Libraries

Above average
Reviewed by Sue on Jul 14 2011

It’s a fabulous story – almost larger than life – with a beautiful WAC (Women’s Army Corps) member, a surviving twin, a daring paratrooper and thousands of New Guinea tribespeople rumoured to be headhunters and cannibals. It’s also a story about courage...

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EzineArticles

Good
Reviewed by Lynnette Phillips on Apr 27 2011

What follows this daring jump is a true story of heroism, courage, determination, fortitude, limitless bravery, inspiration and danger. This narrative is sometimes comic, often terrifying but always entertaining.

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Booking Mama

Good
Reviewed by Julie P on Apr 26 2011

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA is a very readable, fast-paced entertaining non-fiction novel about a beautiful WAC, a lush hidden valley, primitive tribes and a daring air rescue. Can anyone say movie? This is a great book.

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Book Loons

Excellent
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson on Dec 23 2014

It's a remarkable book, an unusual combination of WW II history, anthropology and travel literature, absolutely not to be missed!

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Good
Reviewed by Lesa on Feb 12 2011

Zuckoff tells a gripping story that introduces readers to all of the players, beginning with the passengers on that ill-fated plane. He's careful to allow the survivors' memories and diaries to tell part of the story.

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Literary Treats

Good
on Apr 29 2011

Filled with first-hand accounts, journal entries and personal observations, Mitchell Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-La is an exciting book, both hopeful and tragic. No wonder Zuckoff became a finalist for a Pulitzer in investigative reporting.

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You've GOTTA Read This

Good
Reviewed by Sandy on Aug 08 2013

This is definitely a must-read for anyone that enjoys reading about adventures too strange to be fiction.

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Helen's Book Blog

Good
Reviewed by Helen on Aug 02 2011

Overall I really enjoyed this well-researched book, I learned a lot, read a gripping tale, and was exposed to a new culture, are of the world, and an insight into the military in the Pacific theater of WWII, especially the Filipino troupes.

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Chaotic Compendiums

Good
Reviewed by Caitlin Martin on May 03 2011

Lost in Shangri-La will keep you up nights with its entertaining stories and unrelenting pace. It is a story that was over shadowed by VJ day and has been resurrected for new generations to share. It's not often you get a new World War II book and this one was a great read!

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Bookfoolery and Babble

Good
on Jul 23 2011

While I would not say Lost in Shangri-La is the most exciting survival book I've ever read, nor a favorite, I enjoyed the reading and would say it's above average as far as the research and detail.

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Book Him Danno

Good
Reviewed by Lisa Peters on Oct 14 2013

This book is interesting and I think many readers would enjoy it. Some of it does come off a bit fairy tale like, but that is life for some of us.

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JulzReads

Good
on May 04 2012

This book has so many phenomenal qualities, it will be hard for me to list them all. It is well-written, incredibly researched, and immensely captivating.

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A Good Stopping Point

Above average
on May 08 2012

Even after the crash event, Zuckoff sometimes had the tendency to spell out the significance the moment, when it didn’t seem necessary for me. But for some readers, this very same tendency might be the kind of flair they need or want, so it really comes down to one’s taste.

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The Internet Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Gary Presley on Feb 15 2013

The author is a graceful, talented, and understandable writer and this is a crackerjack of a tale. I recommend it to you highly!

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Ted Lehmann's Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms

Above average
Reviewed by Ted Lehmann on Jun 11 2012

...fascinating non-fiction account of an incident that occurred in the wilds of New Guinea as World War II was winding down...Inspiring because of the fortitude required and the personal growth experienced by the military personnel involved and perhaps a little sad because of the eventual destruction of the last primitive group of native people...

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Mental Foodie

Good
Reviewed by Christa on May 15 2011

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.

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Senceless Pie

Good
on Dec 12 2014

I could barely put this book down while I was reading it, and it’s left me dying to read more about the native cultures of Papua and Papua New Guinea, who had some truly fascinating beliefs.

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London's Fog

Good
Reviewed by Karen on Mar 04 2012

Lost in Shangri-La is a great rescue story and the extraction plan will leave you shaking your head at how it possibly worked. Mitchell Zuckoff easily transports readers to the jungles of New Guinea and drops you alongside the survivors to share in their unlikely adventure.

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Reader Rating for Lost in Shangri-La
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 4061 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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