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The Airmen and the Headhunters: The Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II | [Judith M. Heimann]

The Airmen and the Headhunters: The Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II

November 1944: Army airmen set out in a B-24 bomber on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast. Instead they found themselves unexpectedly facing a Japanese fleet: and were shot down. When they cut themselves loose from their parachutes, they were scattered across the island's mountainous interior. Then a group of loincloth-wearing natives silently materialized out of the jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers?
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Publisher's Summary

November 1944: Army airmen set out in a B-24 bomber on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast. Instead, they found themselves unexpectedly facing a Japanese fleet and were shot down. When they cut themselves loose from their parachutes, they were scattered across the island's mountainous interior.

Then a group of loincloth-wearing natives silently materialized out of the jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers? Or would the Dayaks risk vicious reprisals to get the airmen safely home? The tribal leaders' unprecedented decision led to a desperate game of hide-and-seek and, ultimately, the return of a long-renounced ritual: head-hunting.

A cinematic survival story that features a bamboo airstrip built on a rice paddy, a mad British major, and a blowpipe-wielding army that helped destroy one of the last Japanese strongholds, The Airmen and the Headhunters is a gripping, you-are-there journey into the remote world and forgotten heroism of the Dayaks.

©2007 Judith M. Heimann; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

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  •  
    She Piney Point, MD, United States 01-03-08
    She Piney Point, MD, United States 01-03-08 Member Since 2005

    Bookaholic. Favorite authors- Agatha Christie, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert A Heinlein.

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    "Spellbinding"

    A most unusual story, made all that more intriguing by being true. Couldn't stop listening.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Planetary Defense Commander Catfish City 10-29-08
    Planetary Defense Commander Catfish City 10-29-08 Member Since 2004
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    "Great wartime survival story"

    This is an interesting and suspenseful story. I've been to Borneo recently, and had the benefit of guidebooks and the internet to learn about the island before I went, so it was interesting to hear that the airmen didn't have access to similar information before flying missions over the island.

    As a side note, ignore the reviewer who complains about the narrator's accents. The accents are fairly mild, and not used very frequently. I can't believe someone could read this incredible story of courage and survival, and then whine about some accents.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Lecanto, FL, USA 01-17-09
    Ron Lecanto, FL, USA 01-17-09
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    "Not bad, just lacking"

    The Airman and the Headhunters isn't a bad book, it just lacks the qualities that make me want to sit in my car listening after I park. The story of the airman in the World War 2 Borneo is an interesting tale that is drawn out too long and with too many tangents to the story. The names of the numerous natives are hard to follow, the crew is never really in any danger from the Japanese, and the headhunters almost seemed like parents to the surviving crew.
    I personally found the late stages of the book when the natives began to actively battle the Japanese in guerilla warfare to be more interesting. I wish it would not have been glossed over by the writer.
    A similar book about rescued airman (except in the European Theater is "The Forgotton 500" by Gregory Freeman. It is far more developed and organized by the author. I suggest you investigate that book and leave this one alone.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12 Member Since 2009
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    "The Airmen and the Headhunters."

    This is a great Book. I have never even heard of this story and I am into all WW ll history. I would recommend this book over and over again. This is a Great Book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Lucas Maryland USA 03-07-08
    M. Lucas Maryland USA 03-07-08 Member Since 2003
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    "Not a good audiobook; buy the book instead"

    This book was recommended by someone who really enjoyed the book, so I thought I'd give the audiobook a try. Only after a few minutes did I realize that purchasing the audiobook was a mistake. The reader makes listening difficult because she has a monotone voice and the accents she uses for each tribal word or name invokes almost an air of condescension. When she quotes a Japanese officer or headhunter, she does so in a Japanese or headhunter accent, making a mockery of their English.

    I found it annoying and would not recommend it as an audiobook. I would suggest that anyone interested in the story should read the book itself and avoid the pretend accents that make this audiobook one of the worst I've heard.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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