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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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  • Overall
  • She
  • Piney Point, MD, United States
  • 01-03-08

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

  • Overall

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

  • Overall
  • Ron
  • Lecanto, FL, USA
  • 01-17-09

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing Story!

Would you listen to The Airmen and the Headhunters again? Why?

Yes. The story is amazing and individuals are true survivors. I don't understand how this has not been made into a film.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Airmen and the Headhunters?

The way they survived with great odds against them.

Did Susan Ericksen do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I feel she could have done a better job.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Charles
  • LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States
  • 11-18-12

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.

  • Overall

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