I admit that Lost in Shangri-La caught by attention because of Shangri-La in the title. That is what Camp David used to be called and I live near there. However, once I read that cover copy that it was a survival story and rescue mission I was intrigued.
Near the end of WWII, a plane took off from a U.S. Army camp in New Guinea. It carried two dozen people and was supposed to be flying on sightseeing trip and giving the soldiers and WACs aboard a little rest and relaxation. That was until the plane crashed in the jungle high in the mountains.
Five people survived initially, though two of them died within a day. The remaining three survivors had various injuries, but they managed a three-day hike with nothing to eat but Charms candy. (This fact probably sticks with me the most from the book.)
Some of the tribes in the jungle were known to be cannibalistic, but the survivors were lucky enough to meet a tribe that had never seen white people but they were friendly. The two groups couldn’t communicate, but were friendly and got along.
A rescue plane found the survivors after a few days. It couldn’t land, but it was able to help two medics parachute into the area. The medics hiked to the survivors and began giving them needed medical attention. A few days later another group of paratroopers landed in the area to offer help and protection if necessary.
With troops now on the ground, the trick was to find a way to get them back to the camp. Planes couldn’t land, helicopters couldn’t operate at that altitude and it was a 150-mile hazardous march with wounded personnel back to camp. Their solution was a daring rescue that mission that I won’t spoil.
I enjoyed the book. It was well written and it told an interesting story as a story. Though it went off on tangents to tell the background of the characters in the story, they weren’t overly long or uninteresting so I didn’t mind them at all.
I would definely recommend this.