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Lost in Shangri-La

The True Story of a Plane Crash into a Hidden World
Lost in Shangri-La: The True Story of a Plane Crash into a Hidden World. Harper: HarperCollins. May 2011. c.400p. photogs. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780061988349. $26.99. HIST
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Zuckoff (journalism, Boston Univ.; Robert Altman: The Oral Biography) presents an engaging story about the survival and ultimate rescue of three American service people who crashed in the dense jungles of New Guinea toward the end of World War II. While that is exciting enough in its own right, what makes Zuckoff's story an essential read is the interaction between these survivors and the indigenous tribe they encountered after crashing. Humorous and at times dangerous misunderstandings arose between the Americans and the indigenous people during the 46-day ordeal in the jungle. The tribe had never encountered white people before and assumed their "guests," including a young female WAC corporal, were spirits whose arrival fulfilled a prophecy of the end of the world. In a sense, this prophecy was true as after the rescue and the war, the Americans, Europeans, and Indonesians returned and changed the way of life that these tribes had followed for centuries.
VERDICT This excellent book will be enjoyed by anyone who loves true adventure stories of disaster and rescue such as Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.

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