Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II


In the summer of 1945, a small plane left Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea (today part of Indonesia) to take 24 military personnel on a sightseeing flight over the remote and beautiful Baliem Valley.  When the plane crashed into the side of a mountain, three survivors Corporal Margaret Hastings, Sergeant Kenneth Decker and Lieutenant John McCollom were left to fend for themselves amid the difficult terrain and unfamiliar people.  Lost in Shangri-La details the crash, its aftermath, and the daring lengths undertaken to rescue the stranded passengers.

“Despite shared language, ethnicity, and culture, alliances nurtured deep, long-standing hostilities toward one another, the original source of which was often unknown.  They had always been enemies, and so they remained enemies.  Indeed, hostility between alliances defined the natives’ lives.  If covered by a glass roof, the valley would’ve been a terrarium of human conflict, an ecosystem fueled by sunshine, river water, pigs, sweet potatoes, and war among neighbors."

Mitchell Zuckoff is an American author, professor, and journalist.  His non-fiction books include Frozen in Time, Lost in Shangri-La, and 13 Hours.

Published:  2011
Length:  384 pages
Set in:  West Papua, Indonesia