Lost in Shangri-La

I just finished Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff. The book takes place at the end of World War II in Dutch Papua New Guinea and the Americans while travelling from one base to another find an uncharted valley surrounded by mountains filled with villages and natives who have been isolated from the world living in the equivalent of the Stone Age. While a group of soldiers are on an R&R sightseeing tour of the valley their plane crashes killing all but two men and a woman. The survivors must tend to their injuries and live long enough to be found. Complicating matter is that there were no suitable areas for a plan to land and no easy way to hike out of the valley so the Americans need to come up with an ingenious way to extract the survivors. Though I enjoyed this book, I found that there was not actually enough of a story to fill the whole book and there was a lot of padding. There was also the implication that the natives, being cannibals and head hunters, would prove to be a hindrance to the rescue operation when in fact they are very helpful. This book was definitely one of those stories that is hard to believe because it is so extraordinary and this is compounded by the very original rescue at the end of the book.

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