I have read many books on WWII. I would have to put this one right at the top. The author Mitchell Zuckoff has taken the time to do the research necessary to bring this forgotten true story back to life. If you like history, human courage, and survival stories, you will love this book!
As a pilot and WWII buff my husband chose this book to listen to on a recent road trip. We both were dissatisfied. A better writer could have made this story more concise and interesting but it just droned on and on. The narrator also added to the lack luster quality of the listen, as his voice was monotone and draggy. We had to force ourselves to the finish. We've just begun Unbroken and already find it more interesting. Save your money on this one.
The material is consistently racist. This is the kind of racism that people display when they are convinced that they are liberals, then wonder what it is they said wrong. It is likely unconscious on the part of the author. Nonetheless, Zuckoff's constant references to the blackness of the skin of the natives when there is no legitimate need to mention skin color at all IS racist and is something that anyone who isn't white will notice very quickly.
Sometimes race or ethnicity is a valid point in context: this was not one of those times. Once the initial description of the native population was concluded, there is NO reason to mention blackness at every opportunity. Really, have we not advanced beyond this yet?
It bothered me a lot and the amount it bothered me grew with each passing hour I listened. I thought maybe he'd lighten up as the book progressed, but he didn't: if anything, he got worse. The racism is there from start to finish and the condescending praise of the simple charming savage and, oh yes, black, natives does nothing to alleviate it. I do not think this is a minor point and I do not feel it should be overlooked, especially in view of the inconsequential nature of the event itself even though it got a lot of press at the time.
As history, I just can't see where this was an event of importance to anyone but the people directly involved. They were NOT in combat; they were sight-seeing to catch a glimpse of the primitive BLACK natives of the island who were rumored to be cannibals and head-hunters and oh yes, naked and BLACK (don't forget that!). It is a point that is pounded into listeners.
Due to pilot error, the plane crashes. A bunch of them get killed, including some women which, in WWII was a big deal because women weren't supposed to get killed in combat, or, more to the point, American women weren't supposed to get killed. Foreign women got killed all the time, but that was apparently of significantly less importance.
The rescue is the most interesting part of the book since the location was not accessible by any ordinary means. It took a lot of planning and a good deal of cleverness. Otherwise, I was really underwhelmed.
The author reads the material just fine. There could have been much more done with it had the narrator possessed the skill to differentiate voices, but the author's reading of his own work was more than adequate. I would not have liked it better even if it had better production values.
I really didn't like the book. The author really needs some serious consciousness-raising.
Interesting, factual and sad (why do we feel compelled to ruin perfectly good societies just because they are not like ours?)
An exciting tale from WW2, lost in a tropical valley of head hunters.
Because its a true story it doesn't have all the violence, sex and rock and roll that you would expect, but it would have been a pretty harrowing experience. I would love to see the movie. A nice quick story and entertaining to boot!
I would with the caveat that they understand what I found out. While the story is of interest on it's own I feel that the author did exactly what he sights in his recounting as a undesirable trait. That of building up a good story to a point of where it doesn't match the importance, hype or magnitude of what actually occured. "The most incredible rescue mission of WWll" hardly. Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken" now that story fits and surpasses all the verbal hype you can use to describe that story.
Probably not unless I could research it better next time
Ok but should have probably let someone with more range have this one.
Absolutely not. He beat the hell out of everything the story could have possible offered.
Someone compared this to Unbroken. No comparison in my opinion. Unbroken was captivating and read like a novel. This was merely interesting.
Late in WWII, a small plane of US troops went down in a remote part of what was then Dutch New Guinea. Only three survived the crash, including a beautiful, feisty WAC. The area was populated by Stone Age tribes who had had no contact with outsiders. They thought the Americans were spirits. Because the region was impossible to land in for any of the aircraft of the time, paratroopers were dropped in to help the survivors get out -- a group of Filipino-American soldiers who, as was often the case in those days, never got the credit they deserved.
This is a great story, and very well-researched. The author even managed to find some of the original tribesmen who'd met the Americans and got their side of the story. (There were some comical cultural misunderstandings.) The author narrates the book, which made me hesitant, but he does a fine job. Maybe a professional actor could have done a little bit better, but a lot of times they're worse because they don't really understand the material. This is one case of author narration that works very well.
I love adventure books, but frankly found this one boring. In the middle of the book the author mentioned how the newspapers summarize the event: planes downed, a few people live, and a rescue is in the works. That pretty much summarizes the story.