Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

Title: Lost in Shangri-La
Author: Mitchell Zuckoff
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Copy provided by publisher for TLC Book Tours

Using diaries, letters, newspapers, declassified military documents, and many other sources, Mitchell Zuckoff explains what happened to the twenty-four men and women aboard the Gremlin Special, an Army Air Force plane intended to transport passengers on an aerial tour of uncharted parts of New Guinea. Almost at the end of World War II, this flight was intended to be a recreational trip to the remote area nicknamed "Shangri-La" in an attempt to see the lush jungle, remote villages, and natives' unusual lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the flight didn't go as planned, resulting in a spectacular crash killing most of those on board. Badly injured, the only three survivors, Margaret Hastings, John McCollom, and Kenneth Decker maintain hope of being rescued soon and decide to fight for their lives. In a courageous attempt at self preservation, these three must cross amazingly difficult terrain including harrowing rock climbs, sliding down waterfalls, and crawling through the thick and treacherous vines and brush covering the jungle floor. What follows is the intense adventure full of superstitious and potentially hostile natives, a group of paratroopers who risk their lives in a daring rescue attempt, and the trials and tribulations of the brave trio.

Hands down Zuckoff's writing makes Lost in Shangri-La. The readability, especially for non-fiction, was excellent, and I never felt overwhelmed or bored with the information presented. There is no doubt that this is one meticulously researched book, but the translation into a simple yet thrilling narrative is what kept me turning the pages. I also enjoyed the integration of anecdotes and historical facts within the narrative. This added a layer that helped me understand certain aspects surrounding the incident as well as kept the tension high. I just wanted to keep reading to see what was happening to the main trio!

So many parts of this narrative were engrossing. I loved reading a woman's perspective on being stranded around only men. The physical, emotional, and material needs are quite different. Seeing Margaret navigate such a difficult situation without any feminine products, much less female companionship, was interesting. Also, reading about the initial meetings between the village natives and the military as well as subsequent interactions appeased the part of me that is fascinated with social anthropology.

I can't think of a single group that couldn't find at least some part of the story intriguing. To put this in perspective, I not much of a non-fiction reader, so that cannot be used as an excuse. Besides, I'm not the only one who believes this book is a must-read. Lost in Shangri-La won the non-fiction category in the 2011 Indie Lit Awards. Okay, enough with the gushing. On to the commands - GO READ THIS BOOK!



Thanks again to TLC Book Tours for having me on the tour. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

Be sure to check out the next few stops on the tour to see what others are saying!

Thursday, May 17th: Book Him Dano!  
Wednesday, May 23rd: Doing Dewey  
Monday, May 28th: Little Bit of Wonderful
Thursday, June 7th: Book Reviews, Fiction Reflections, ‘n More!                                          

15 comments:

  1. I like the sound of this book, and just read another rave review yesterday. It reminds me a little bit of Unbroken, though I know they are two totally different sorts of stories! I need to see if I can find this one. I love nonfiction that ensnares the reader and doesn't let go. Terrific review today, Jenna!

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    1. I really think you would enjoy this one! I haven't read any of Hillenbrand's work, but from what everyone says I can definitely see the similarities.

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  2. I listened to this on audio last year and was completely fascinated - I never wanted to get out of the car!

    I'm glad that you enjoyed this as well. It's crazy to think that all these events actually happened.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

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    1. The entire time I was reading I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't fiction! It's incredible what these people went through and managed to survive.

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  3. I had no idea this was a non-fiction book about plane crash survivors! How did I miss that?! Regardless, you've seriously piqued my interest -- sounds fabu -- am adding this to the TBR immediately!

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    1. For reasons unknown to me now, I was very quick to dismiss this book when it first came out last year. I'm so glad I was approached to be on this tour. Definitely a worthy read!

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  4. This book is on my must-read list! I'm glad that you think this is amazing!

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    1. It really is a riveting tale. The fact that it is non-fiction really is a bonus for me! Hope you get a chance to check it out.

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  5. I've heard really good things about this book! Glad you liked it!

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    1. All the positive reviews were what made me accept this book in the first place. I think you would enjoy this one, Meg.

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  6. Wow! You make this book sound sooo good! I'm definitely going to be kindling it now - thanks!

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    1. Hopefully you get a chance to check it out! It is definitely a fascinating read especially since Memorial Day is right around the corner.

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  7. I'm glad you liked this one, I thought it was excellent!

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    1. I'm so glad this won the Indie Lit award for non-fiction. Definitely deserved. Also, your review definitely helped me decide to pick it up!

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  8. AWESOME BLOG....love the design and posts.

    I loved this book too.

    NEW FOLLOWER.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

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