As the book cover states this is a true story of survival, adventure, and the most incredible rescue mission of World War II. I have just finished reading Mitchell Zuckoff’s amazingly well-researched report of a tragic event dating back decades that occurred in the wilds of Dutch New Guinea.
The author takes the reader back to an ill-fated decision to take twenty-four American servicemen and WACs aboard an Army Air Force C-47 transport plane for a sightseeing flight over “Shangri-La” deep in the jungle-covered mountains.
I do not want to spoil the read for you, but it is clear from the first pages that the initial decision to take this flight was totally ill-conceived by the Officer in Charge, and it was compounded by a lack of proper flight procedures that resulted in a devastating crash and loss of multiple lives. While not ignoring the tragic loss of life and the impact on the families back home, one must imagine the substantial financial costs that resulted in the rescue of the survivors.
This is one of those sad stories that come out of War that could have been prevented had cooler heads prevailed, but one must consider the isolation, boredom and frustration that brought about the action. While reading I wondered just how many other examples of War-time deaths were due to similar decision making misjudgments.
This is a great read for a cool autumn evening and it is certain to keep the reader turning pages into the wee-hours of the night.