Military Monday – “Lost in Shangri-La” Book Review

Lost in Shangri-La coverI recently finish a book called Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff which was recommended by a friend at a Starbucks I frequent. He enjoys World War II books and said this was a winner but not one to be read before bed as it is disturbing. I thought I would take it to the pool to read a little each day but once I started, I had to keep reading.

The book was not disturbing. I expected since it was set in New Guinea during World War II with the Japanese on the island there would be some atrocities described. This was not the case. The book was a riveting story of the second discovery of a lush, green valley and its native inhabitants who are disturbed when a plane crashes in the mountains. The plane’s occupants totaled 24 U.S. Army servicemen and Women’s Army Corps members. Three would survive.

Not only are we taken on a journey of the survivors and their experiences but also that of the natives. Zuckoff provides enough history to place the natives into context and expose us to their beliefs and ideology. As the story progresses you can see how the presence of three Americans and their rescuers impacts the native communities and what changes occur. We also see the changes that occur within the survivors. No longer are they looking at the natives as “savages” but people with large hearts. They come to realize that people are the same no matter where they live and what their backgrounds. We all hold shared basic values.

Zuckoff weaves a lot of military research into the story which I love. He provides excellent notes and a bibliography so those of us who love this type of research can find the records.

I highly recommend Lost in Shangri-La as a summer read. If you have read other similar books, please share those with us.

© 2014, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL

 

 

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Stories of the Lost D-Day Discount

Lost_CoverHave you read my new book Stories of the Lost?

In honor of the men and women who fought, and died, on D-Day, I am offering a discount on my book.

From now until June 8, you may order through CreateSpace and take 10% off using this code: 5EY5G3H3 . The book is also available on the Kindle without a discount.

Synopsis:
Imagine sending your son off to war. Will he return unharmed, unchanged, and whole? How long will he be gone? Will the war last forever? Will he return? Standing in front of you at the railroad station is a young man in uniform. He looks so handsome, so strong, and full of life. You hug him tightly before he boards the train. You wave goodbye and he’s gone.

Years later your son returns from the war. He arrives not walking off the train, but carried off in a flag draped casket. Dead almost four years now and buried in a foreign land, you did not know where he was buried for almost two years after he was killed. Your son is unable to tell his story of war. Who will tell his story?

This book is a collection of stories about my relatives who left by train to fight for our freedom and never returned. Three of the men were brought home after the war ended. One however, still sleeps in that foreign soil. It is also the recognition of the men who cared for them after death. The stories of the lost found through the military record. 

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Tuesday’s Tip – Write Your Military Stories

I started a discussion in my FaceBook Military Research and Storytelling group last month and on the World War II History network. It went like this:

I’d like to know how are YOU writing the stories of your ancestors. The way I write, share stories, and lecture may not be the way you share information yet there is great value in sharing what we have each done.

Are you blogging (post the URL); do you have a website dedicated to veterans (post the URL); have you written a book (describe what you did and post pictures); do you speak to groups about military history (describe what you talk about and how we can hear you speak). Did I miss anything? Feel free to add if I did.

One gentleman answered he blogs from his father’s diary and talks about his father’s military service. A blog is an easy way to begin telling the stories of our military ancestors. It isn’t a far jump from a blog post to a book. It just requires some finesse and filling some portions out and you can have a printed copy of a military story.

I’d love to hear your take on writing military stories. And if you need some inspiration, below are a few blogs written by researchers and links to books I’ve read (including my new book) that share military stories from WWII. And if you need help researching and writing the stories of your ancestors, feel free to look at my services page and contact me.

WWII Diary of Chick Bruns

2nd LT Malrait and the Thieme Crew

A Wounded World War II Vet: Pfc. Albert S. Pendleton, Jr. (1925-2006)

Books

Holik, Jennifer. Stories of the Lost. Woodridge, IL: Generations, 2014.

Keay, Danny I.P. Roscoe Red Three is Missing. Dog Ear Publishing, 2012.

Schaeffer, Mollie Weinstien, and Schaeffer, Cyndee. Mollie’s War. McFarland, 2010.

What websites or blogs and books can you add to the list?

© 2014, Jennifer Holik

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