Author Feature | Mitchell Zuckoff

Two of the best and most interesting books I’ve read in the last year–Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time –are both tales of harrowing and dangerous rescues set during World War II. Both involve the rescue of survivors of crashed airplanes–from the one of the last unexplored jungles of the world and the other from atop the ice cap in Greenland’s not so green glacial wasteland–and both are written by the same man, Mitchell Zuckoff.

Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University and a finalist for the Pulitzer prize for investigative reporting, and his books show why.  With a pen that tells a story so real and attentive to detail that it might be fiction, except that you know it’s not, Zuckoff levies seemingly exhaustive  research to build stories that put you on the edge of your seat and leave you turning pages with the speed of a novel.

Lost in Shangri-La, the first of Zuckoff’s books that I have read, tells the story of about a hidden valley high in the cloud shrouded mountains of New Guinea, where natives have never seen a western man and might as likely be cannibals as not. When a plane full of US servicemen and women crashed during a pleasure flight over the island, a daring rescue is concocted to retrieve the few survivors.


Frozen in Time, released just today, is a tale in two parts, taking place in the past and the near present. With World War II on in Europe, US airbases in Greenland provide mid-way stops for refueling as airmen and airplanes cross the Atlantic en route to the front. But flying can be treacherous, and when a C-53 goes down over the island, a rescue effort results in more loss of two more airplanes. Zuckoff overlays the story about the rescue with the effort to recover the lost airmen and their airplanes in 2012.

Both are fantastic stories, reading like a novel, complete with suspense, danger, high emotion, and life and death stakes. Zuckoff’s Frozen in Time  is out today (I read an advance copy courtesy of the publisher, and I hope to post a more full review later this week), and I hope you buy it.

Attack of the Books! is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, a month long quest to post every day. Each day should match a letter of the alphabet. Today is the letter Z (as in Mitchell Zuckoff).

 Get the books now, from Amazon, and start reading them this week!


About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.


  1. These both look like great books and I’ve put both of them on hold at the library. Thanks for sharing them!


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