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Lost in Tibet: The Untold Story of Five American Airmen, a Doomed Plane and a Will to Survive Paperback – May 2006

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Paperback, May 2006
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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press; 1st Lyons Press Paperback Ed edition (May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592287859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592287857
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 16.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,232,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This book tells about an incident that has been hidden for too many years. It's a fascinating adventure that stands out from all the other wartime experiences I have heard about."--Charles Martin, former "Hump" pilot"This book will be fascinating to anyone even casually interested in the politics of my country."--Losang Gyatso, Tibetan artist and actor"A well-rendered story of WWII action and adventure, one with plenty of twists and operational pointers for future warriors."--"Kirkus Reviews""Authors Starks and Murcutt absorbingly recount the political conquest of Tibet through the story of these five young men's unwitting embroilment in an international incident and their extraordinary journey home.""--Publishers Weekly" online"""This is a fine story of courage and diplomacy that presents invaluable information on a little-known theater of WWII and insight into the Tibet-China political situation.""--Booklist""This is a 'must-read' for mountaineers and history buffs alike. I was absorbed and moved."--Amanda Daflos, Director, Special Projects, International Mountain Explorers Connection

About the Author

Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt have traveled extensively in some of the more remote parts of the world. They live in Boulder, Colorado.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
ROBERT CROZIER STOOD AT THE EDGE OF THE RUNWAY, sure he was soon going to die. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Noel on 22 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating story from WW2 about five American airmen baling out of their plane before it crashed in the Himalayas. They parachuted to earth and discovered they were in Tibet in a wild and unknown landscape. It is a piece of history which was new to me. Tibet is still a fascinating but impoverished country. Circa 70 years ago when these men found themselves deposited there it was even more mysterious than it is today. Nearly everything they encounter is bizarre and strange to the men and they were no less bizarre to the people whose lives they invaded. This book tells how they were rescued, transported across Tibet and eventually out of the country.

The airmen were Americans and as I read the book I was subconsciously thinking of how a British account of a similar near-disaster might read. It is a good read and gives a very interesting view of the political factions and sensitivities in Tibet well before there was a communist regime in China.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 53 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Untold story of WWII U S airmen 28 Sep 2004
By Henry Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1943 during WWII, five U.S. airmen flying the "Hump" between Burma and the U.S. ally Nationalist China were blown off course into Tibet in a storm and bailed out of their plane before it crashed. After an arduous trek across the forbidding Tibetan mountainous terrain, they arrived in the capital of Lhasa--only to find themselves at the center of precarious international affairs. The Chinese were trying to take over Tibet. Since the U. S. was an ally of China in the war against Japan, the Tibetans could not believe that the American airmen were not somehow involved with China's hostile aims toward their country. The Chinese were concerned that the airmen would be witnesses to their actions taken to occupy Tibet even while the U. S. government was trying to keep the Chinese movements from becoming widely known. The authors tell this complex, engaging tale clearly, skillfully keeping its different elements in balance while keeping a focus on the plight of the airmen resented by both Tibet and China and dealt with at arm's length by the U. S. until they made their timely overland escape to India with the aid of British citizens in the region who were acting as surrogates for the American government. The authors, both journalists, recount the full story of this little-known episode of WWII that has heretofore received only passing attention. From their travels to mountainous areas of Asia, they bring a special sense of the five airmen's struggles to survive in the Tibetan terrain at the beginning and again at the end of their incredible story.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Valuable Insights! 19 Jun 2006
By Susan E. Spencer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My dad never confided in anyone about the true story. All we knew as kids was the story about how he split his chin open when parachuting out of a plane.

I read the entire book in one evening and have shared it with many friends....

The fact that I am alive to even read this is amazing given the obstacles they had to overcome to get back home.

The politics behind his story I found so amazing and often wondered if he really was privy to the entire truth. Afterall he was only 19 at the time.

I highly recommend this to all as a great read to anyone who loves a real life drama about war.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Lost in Tibet 1 Sep 2004
By William L. Korstad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book grabs your attention at several levels. First off, it's a top-notch survival story about five WWII airmen whose aircraft, blown off-course, crashes in the mountains of forbidden Tibet. The story describes how the men manage to survive - only to find themselves placed under house arrest by suspicious Tibetan authorities, leaving them to an uncertain fate. Once you think they're about to gain their freedom, the politics change and they're forced to race against time to escape back to civilization making an equally arduous winter trek across the Tibetan plateau.

It reminds one of Shackleton's adventures, but with Kafka overtones and no water. Intertwined with the adventure is the war-time political intrigue surrounding the battle for Tibet between sometimes friends sometimes adversaries, China, Britain and the United States; perhaps the last vestiges of the Great Game so well described by Peter Hopkirk in his famous book on the subject.

Throughout the book you're continually amazed at the fortitude and adaptability of these five very ordinary, young Americans and their struggle to adapt to an alien culture completely unknown to the outside world. Of equal interest is the post script which follows the men into later life showing how this harrowing adventure stamped a lasting imprint on their character.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I Was There 25 Jun 2007
By Gilbert D. Preston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book because I was a pilot flying the "Hump" at the same time these men were. Their story is exciting, well written and spell binding and will interest those who enjoy adventure. Almost a thousand aircraft were lost on the "aluminum trail" between India and China. A lot was learned in that operation at the expense of the lives of the young inexperienced airmen who took part. Lost In Tibet gives one an insight of the flying conditions we experienced and also the complicated wartime politics in the Tibetan area of that time. It's a good "read".
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
outstanding adventure! 16 Oct 2004
By Rebecca Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Rebeccasreads highly recommends LOST IN TIBET as a fascinating recollection of a WWII drama when five American airmen were flying their C87 over The Hump, got blown off course & had to bail out onto The Roof of the World.

In 1943, Robert Crozier, Harold McCallum, Kenneth Spencer, John Huffman & William Perram were out of fuel & lost in the clouds & the Himalayas. With no time for their parachutes to open the five airmen landed in the snow on the same mountain, all but one within hailing distance. After sleeping the night in their niches, they made their way down to a settlement in the valley where they were received by the village leader & met their first Tibetans, who were fascinated by these men who fell from the sky.

Summoned to Lhasa by the Tibetan government, the five airmen, following their guides & riding little ponies, trekked up & down mountains to The Forbidden City where they met with unrelenting hostility from the citizens, a feast by the Chinese mission commander, & eventually, the sanctuary of the British delegation.

How they got back to India, how they were received in America, what happened in Tibet after they left, an Afterword about the five American airmen, & the key players who helped them, plus a Notes section round out a tale very well told.

Could not put LOST IN TIBET down! Unique & engrossing, ably told by two passionate mountain travelers with a host of cultural & historic details.
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