Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Book Review: Lost in Shangri-La
Lost in Shangri-La sounded like an interesting book--a crashed military flight leaving a handful of survivors amidst an unmapped area of a tropical island filled with cannibals and Japanese soldiers. Yup, it sounds interesting till you get into the details.
The plane wasn't shot down, the pilots screwed up and flew it into a mountainside. The plane wasn't on a military mission they were out sightseeing. The area may have been generally unmapped but it was known well enough to have earned nicknames and numerous overflights. The Japanese soldiers that were left on the island were hiding in the jungle hoping to survive without resupply or support from the mainland. The cannibals might have eaten each other after battle but had little to no interest in the white people who crashed into their midst.
The author sets up all of the dangers present to both the survivors and those who came to rescue them--its just that none of those dangers ever really occur. The survivors and those who parachuted in to assist them spent a relatively comfortable and safe time recuperating and then were whisked out of the jungle on a specially mocked up glider.
The book just never really captured my attention. The writing was adequate but nothing more than perfunctory descriptions of events and backgrounds. You can tell he's really desperate for something to really happen in his tale...its just that nothing ever does.
Is the book worth a quick recap of a somewhat interesting sidebar event that occurred during WWII? Sure, but an entire novel and being declared "The Most Incredible Rescue Mission of WWII" on its cover gives away its pretense at trying to be another best selling WWII tale that the public can't seem to get enough of--this one just isn't quite worth it and certainly not at some 300 pages, much of which is unremarkable filler.