Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review : Lost in Shangri-La

Lost in Shangri-La: The Epic True Story of a Plane Crash into the Stone Age by Mitchell Zuckoff. HarperCollins, 2011. (Published April 26)

[Source: Publisher]

I’m picky about my non-fiction. A dry recitation of facts just doesn’t interest me. I need a good story regardless of whether or not it’s fictional. I need to feel engaged by and invested in the characters. Mitchell Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-La meets all my non-fiction needs.

The cover touts the book as one of the last untold stories of World War II. It’s hard to believe such stories still exist, but I certainly was not aware of this amazing story of survival and rescue. Lost in Shangri-La begins with a light-hearted sightseeing flight over Hidden Valley, dubbed Shangri-La by reporters, to see the robust native culture living on its floor. The journey quickly turns deadly when the plane crashes before even reaching the valley. Zuckoff then follows the survivors as they struggle to survive while surrounded by jungles and natives. Your amazement at their survival will only be topped by the unorthodox and unbelievable rescue.

Zuckoff builds the reader’s interest in his characters by telling us who they were before, during and after their time in Shangri-La. He also includes some of the natives in his cast of characters and gives us insight into a isolated world. Lost in Shangri-La is a gripping piece of non-fiction that will keep you on the edge of your seat while also pausing to teach you. Thank goodness the families of those involved in this incredible story saved the photos, diaries, and other documents related to it. Thank goodness the single living survivor of this story was willing to tell it to Zuckoff. You’ll love this adventure, but I think you’ll also find it to be a touching tale of compassion and friendship.

If you are looking for a good piece of non-fiction to pick up, I highly recommend Lost in Shangri-La.

Amazon Associate link:
Lost in Shangri-La


  1. I just finished listening to the audio of this book and I agree it is excellent narrative non-fiction. I can't read dry facts either, I need a story. The only complaint I have is there are no photos with the audio. I'm assuming there are photos in the book? I guess I'll have to check!

  2. @Leslie

    Yes, there are photos in the book. I loved seeing the people I was reading about. You'll definitely have to take a look at the print copy just to see what they all look like.