Audio Reviews, November 15, 2011


Abu-Jaber, Diana. Birds of Paradise. 12 CDs.
library ed. unabridged. 14¬Ω hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781611745795. $78; 12 CDs. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Award-winning author and professor Abu-Jaber has created a multilayered tale of teenage runaway Felice Muir and her family’s efforts to cope with her absence. Chapters alternate among different points of view as Felice, her mother, her father, and her older brother speak not only of their confusion and concerns regarding their family and a search for the motivation behind Felice’s exodus but provide a broader social commentary on issues such as culture clash, teenage rebellion, and the politics of food production. Actor/singer/director Tamara Marston’s strong delivery provides the characters with distinct voices, helping to make the richly developed and intriguing cast of players as well as the delicious words come alive. [Whether it’s the creation of evanescent confections or the drug-ridden life of the streets, award-winning writer Abu-Jaber (Origin) impressively describes vastly different worlds with equal expertise, read the starred review of the Norton hc, LJ 8/11; the Norton pb will publish in May 2012.‚ Ed.]‚ Denise A. Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib., Newburgh, NY

Close, Jennifer. Girls in White Dresses.
7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Books on Tape. 2011. ISBN 9780307939340. $35; 7 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. F

In this debut novel, college girlfriends Isabella, Mary, and Lauren move to New York City to be grown-ups after graduation. The listener witnesses the women meandering through first loves, triumphs, downfalls, and awful bridesmaid dresses all while aiming directly at their 30th birthdays. Told in short vignettes alternating among the friends, moving some to the background while bringing others forward, Girls is like a long Seinfeld episode in which nothing happens except that hilarity ensues. The many female characters can be difficult to keep track of, though all are in some way related to Isabella, giving her center stage. Narrator Emily Janice Card animates each character with different voices and accents, making them easier to distinguish. A quick, light, chick lit read recommended to fans of Ann Brashares’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. [It is modern and funny, with original, wry observations. Close’s debut novel will appeal to both fans of contemporary women’s fiction with a hip vibe and readers who enjoy old-school chick lit, read the starred review of the New York Times best-selling Knopf hc, LJ 6/15/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix P.L.

Cussler, Clive & Justin Scott. The Race.
9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2011. ISBN 9781461838371. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; 9 CDs.
retail ed. Penguin Audio; digital download. F

It’s 1910, and Josephine Frost is the sweetheart of the skies and especially of pressman Preston Whiteway’s cross-country air race. Unfortunately, Josephine’s husband, Harry Frost, is trying to kill her and anyone else who gets in his way. Isaac Bell, lead investigator of the Van Dorn Detective Agency, is determined to stop Harry even if that means learning to pilot one of these flying contraptions himself. This action-packed adventure novel is entertaining when not bogged down in laborious details of the early days of flight. It’s also hindered by flat characters. While Isaac is fairly well fleshed out, none of the other noncontinuing characters fares nearly so well. Scott Brick reads competently, evoking Errol Flynn‚ style imagery from Isaac’s actions. As some of the villains are accomplished European tricksters, Brick employs a range of accents, which adds to the listening pleasure. Ultimately enjoyable, this title will be a necessary purchase, per Cussler’s fan base, despite the pedestrian prose. [Cussler and Scott deliver another outstanding adventure that skillfully invokes the time period. All the women are gorgeous, the men are dashing, and the airplanes and other new machinery are lovingly described, read the review of the New York Times best-selling Putnam hc, LJ 8/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Birmingham, AL

Dekker, Ted & Tosca Lee. Forbidden. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11¬Ω hrs. Recorded Bks. 2011. ISBN 9781611139105. $45.75; 10 CDs. retail ed. Hachette Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Dekker and Lee set their sf epic, the first in a planned trilogy, 480 years after Earth has experienced a close brush with apocalypse. There is peace and no more disease, but Rom Elias discovers his fellow beings have lost what would have made them truly human and sets out to save humanity. Such speculative fiction often seems plodding on audio, especially when, as in this case, the writers provide little to connect their characters and plot to an identifiable reality. But after a slow start, Rom grows more interesting, and the tale takes unexpected twists. Henry Leyva is an expert reader of thrillers, as in Lawrence Block’s Killing Castro, and does an excellent job here of infusing the narrative with needed energy. Fans of fantasy fiction addressing moral issues should enjoy Forbidden. [Two of CF’s edgiest authors collaborate for the first time in this big release…. With great plot twists, compelling writing, and unanswered questions, this is a must-read for Dekker fans, read the starred review of the New York Times best-selling Center Street: Hachette hc, LJ 9/15/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib.

Edgerton, Clyde. The Night Train. 4 CDs. library
ed. unabridged. 4¬Ω hrs. Recorded Bks. 2011.
ISBN 9781449858742. $123.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
This short novel takes place during the turbulent early 1960s in rural North Carolina. Two teenage boys‚ one black, one white‚ develop a tentative relationship based on their devotion to jazz and blues. The author sets the stage with care, and the subsequent events are somehow both surprising and inevitable. Edgerton brings a community into focus for this brief snapshot of a turning point for two young men and a way of life. T. Ryder Smith narrates conversationally with a resonant tenor voice. His pleasant, slow Southern pacing fits the story. However, he is less successful with the dialog when his voice rises in pitch, giving most of the characters an undeserved whine. Recommended with reservations for literary audio collections. [Recommended for all fans of literary fiction, read the review of the Little, Brown hc, LJ 5/15/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Juleigh Muirhead Clark, Colonial Williamsburg Fdn. Lib., VA

Lutz, John. Serial. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Books on Tape. 2011. ISBN 9780307941411. $50; digital download. Random Audio. F
Just as Ed McBain gave readers an unprecedented glimpse into real police procedures with his 87th Precinct series, Lutz has breathed new life into this genre with his Frank Quinn books. These novels are often brutal and lurid but never unbelievable. Serial is no exception: a madman known as The Skinner is targeting women who falsely accused men of rape and is exacting a horrible form of justice against them. His butchery chills even the most hardened members of Quinn’s squad, and when one of its female members is nearly beaten to death, Quinn, Pearl, and the group go after him with a vengeance. This is not an easy book to listen to, but narrator Scott Brick manages to present the Skinner’s brutality in a way that keeps the terror on a high burner without veering into salaciousness. His calm, clear reading gives the victims a dignity that the killer tries so hard to deprive them of. Lutz’s titles are popular in all libraries, and there is no doubt that this will find a ready audience. Highly recommended.‚ Joseph L. Carlson, Vandenberg Air Force Base Lib., Lompoc, CA

McCarthy, T.C. Germline. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Blackstone Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781441793522. $45; 8 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. SF
Set 100 years in the future, McCarthy’s first novel is a brutal tale that follows Stars & Stripes reporter Oscar Wendell. Wars now are fought deep below the surface with genetically engineered quasihuman troops battling alongside heavily armored soldiers, all fighting with horribly destructive weapons. Wendell, the only reporter on the front line, is an unlikable drug-addicted character whose life will be darkened forever by his experiences. Donald Corren’s first-person narration delivers a perfect interpretation of the atrocities occurring throughout the story. Gritty, realistic, and filled with the short- and long-term impacts of war, Germline drives home the notion that war wounds are not always visible. Recommended for collections where Harry Turtledove is popular. [See Major Audio Releases, LJ 6/15/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Donna Bachowski, Orange Cty. Lib. Syst., Orlando, FL

Morgenstern, Erin. The Night Circus.
11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Books on Tape. 2011. ISBN 9780307938923. $45; 11 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F

This circus is only open at night, and there are some so in love with it that they costume themselves to match its black-and-white theme. Behind tent walls, Celia and Marco create and maintain all the wonder and ambiance. Without their consent or understanding, they were magically bound to each other and to the circus in a competition that must be played out to the death. But they are so evenly matched that the un expected ignites between them and blossoms into a deep and abiding love. The tale becomes a story of which bond will prevail. Victorian elements mixed with the complete enchantment of the circus and the constant mystery of the competition and its many pawns create a riveting debut for Morgenstern. Jim Dale, voice of the Harry Potter audio series, lends his unmistakable talent to this production, which has received much advance acclaim and a Summit (Twilight) movie deal. Highly recommended for all collections and for fans of fantasy with a flair for history such as Christopher Priest’s The Prestige or Caroline Stevermer’s A College of Magics. [Debut novelist Morgenstern has written a 19th-century flight of fancy that is, nevertheless, completely believable. The smells, textures, sounds, and sights are almost palpable, read the starred review of the New York Times best-selling Doubleday hc, LJ 6/15/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Lisa Anderson, Metropolitan Community Coll. Lib., Omaha

Park, Tony. African Dawn. 16 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 20 hrs. Bolinda Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781742852690. $123.95; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F
This story follows three families and one black rhino through the difficult transition of the former colonial southern Rhodesia to what is now Zimbabwe. During the three decades of war and political upheaval, a large number of species became endangered, including the humans living there. Although Park captures the unsettled and dangerous nature of the era, his characters are somewhat stereotypical, and the story could use judicious editing to eliminate redundant and unnecessary content. Narrator Richard Aspel’s presentation of black African accents makes those characters sound almost robotic. Still, listeners who enjoy epic historical fiction might find this audiobook appealing.‚ Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence

Reichs, Kathy. Flash and Bones. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 7¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2011. ISBN 9781456119102. $92.75;
1 MP3-CD. library ed.; 6 CDs. retail. ed. S. & S. Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. MYS

After 14 years, 14 novels, and a hit TV series, Reichs is still producing top-quality books featuring forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan. Here, a body is found in a barrel full of tar next to a raceway where two young people had disappeared 12 years earlier. Could the corpse be one of them? Was there an FBI cover-up? There are many nervous suspects, and Brennan’s systematic investigation could turn dangerous. Although lacking the complex character development found in some of her earlier books, this is classic Reichs, both well plotted and well written, and she remains one of the best mystery writers around. TV’s Temperance Brennan is not portrayed here, but fans of the popular Bones series probably will enjoy comparing the two. Expertly read by the award-winning Barbara Rosenblat, this title is recommended for all mystery readers and all others who enjoy investigative mystery series on television. [The Scribner hc, published in August, was a New York Times best seller.‚ Ed.]‚ I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA

Womersley, Chris. Bereft. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 7¾ hrs. Bolinda Audio. 2011. ISBN
9781742850962. $77.95; digital download. F

Battered and disfigured from fighting at Gallipoli, Quinn Walker heads back to his drought-stricken hometown in New South Wales once World War I is over. No jubilant homecoming awaits him, however, for ten years earlier at age 16 he fled after being accused of his sister’s murder. Now his mother lies dying of the Spanish influenza that is rampaging across the world, and he must visit her secretly to avoid being chased down and hung. Australian Womersley (The Low Road) tells an unremittingly bleak story steeped in gothic traditions. Narrator Dan Wyllie’s Australian accent anchors the somewhat ghostly events in reality. Though at times difficult to listen to, this audiobook will appeal to readers interested in rural Australian life following World War I.‚ Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo


Avey, Denis & Rob Broomby. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9¬Ω hrs. Tantor Audio. 2011.
ISBN 9781452632483. $71.99; 8 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST

Auschwitz and the horrors of war retold in this first-person account are so unspeakable that Avey only felt comfortable sharing his story at age 90. A British POW in Auschwitz, Avey befriended and traded places with another prisoner to spend two nights in the Jewish sector in order to witness the atrocities. Only a small portion of the book deals with Auschwitz, but Avey’s description of life during and after wartime is priceless. Avey’s message to the world: everyone must fight to correct wrong and never assume that the unthinkable will not occur where you live. Narrator James Langton covers diverse cultures, accents, and situations with great skill and compassion. His outstanding delivery enhances this moving story immeasurably. Recommended for World War II and Holocaust enthusiasts. This program should be required reading for the military and war industry. ‚ Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., Chicago

Hingson, Michael with Susy Flory. Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 6¬Ω hrs. Oasis Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781598599893. $25.99; digital download. AUTOBIOG
If you are looking for an inspirational story about a dog, keep looking. If you are looking for a book about surviving the horrors of 9/11, this is not that either. This book is the inspirational memoir of Hingson and how his blindness was a launch pad to a career full of prestigious jobs, for example, national public affairs director, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc., and regional sales manager at Quantum. Now president of the Michael Hingson Group, he is able to use his experiences to help others create a more inclusive world. This program contains additional speeches, a Q&A between the producer and the author, and a PDF file. Recommended for readers of inspirational materials.‚ Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ. Lib., Russellville

Kessler, Ronald. The Secrets of the FBI.
7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Books on Tape. 2011. ISBN 9780307914279. $35; 7 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. POL SCI

After Kessler exposed many of the FBI’s secrets in his 2003 book The Bureau, one wonders if he is rehashing old material. Fear not‚ the FBI has enough secrets to fill several volumes, and Kessler is one of the most adept contemporary authors at ferreting out dirty laundry. FBI administrators come under special scrutiny; J. Edgar Hoover’s follies are nothing new, but the criticism of chiefs such as Louis Freeh and William Sessions is fresh and biting. In Kessler’s well-modulated prose, the FBI is sclerotic and in danger of losing the technological war against America’s enemies. Michael Bybee’s narration is consistent and presents the right degree of emotion in Kessler’s calls for major change in the 21st-century FBI. This audiobook is certain to be popular in all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/7/11; the Crown hc, published in August, was a New York Times best seller.‚ Ed.]‚ Joseph L. Carlson, Vandenberg Air Force Base Lib., Lompoc, CA

MacGregor, Neil. A History of the World in 100 Objects. 20 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 23¼ hrs. AudioGO. 2011. ISBN 9780792779940. $110.95; digital download. HIST
This title’s stated thesis is to unfurl a two million‚ year history of the world through 100 objects in the British Museum. Each chapter features a handmade object or set of objects that tells a story about previous civilizations. Starting with one of the earliest surviving hand tools from Africa’s Olduvai Gorge, the span of history concludes with a 21st-century object representative of today’s world (you have to finish the audiobook to learn what it is). This is not a traditional history but rather an interesting reflection on the changes in human societies. This is an alluring audiobook, one that can be listened to in short or long increments. The musical background that opens and closes each chapter is evocative the first few times you hear it but quickly becomes annoying. Some chapters include background sounds of visitors in the museum, which can set a mood or prove irritating depending on the listener. MacGregor, who provides the narration, has been the British Museum’s director since 2002. Recommended for everyone who enjoys history or is interested in how humans have changed and progressed through time.‚ Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll.‚ Penn Valley Lib., Kansas City, MO

Millard, Candice. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2011. ISBN 9780307939654. $58.75; 8 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST
Millard follows up her 2005 New York Times notable book of the year, The River of Doubt , with this equally rousing, highly engrossing story of James A. Garfield’s assassination. The second of four murdered presidents, Garfield was only in office from March 4, 1881, until his death that September 19. He was shot on July 2, 1881, by Charles J. Guiteau, a disgruntled, delusional federal office seeker who was upset over the rejection of his repeated attempts to be appointed as the U.S. consul in Paris, for which he had no qualifications. Millard’s story focuses on the chaos and turmoil caused by the assassination and the bitter struggle for power afterward. She presents harrowing details of the unbelievable medical errors she reasons ultimately killed Garfield. Actor Paul Michael’s silky baritone and methodical pacing nicely heighten interest in this fascinating work. Millard succeeds in turning Garfield’s relatively unknown story into an immersive tale of suspense. Essential, along with the print edition, for all university libraries supporting history curriculum and larger public libraries. [Recommended for presidential history buffs and students of Gilded Age America, read the review of the Doubleday hc, LJ 10/1/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Dale Farris, Groves, TX

Muir, John. My First Summer in the Sierra. 5 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. Silver Hollow Audio. 2011. ISBN 9780979311550. $34.95; digital download. AUTOBIOG/SCI
The Scottish-born Muir made an incredible journey through the Sierras while herding sheep in 1869. He published this title in 1911 and later founded the Sierra Club. This diary of his experiences‚ leading the sheep, observing the raw beauty of nature, and presenting reality both good and bad; the gorgeous scenery, exhaustion, and hunger‚ is as relevant today as it was then. A moving and amusing description of a prairie chicken who feigns injury and death to protect her babies is a highlight of his chronicle. This also serves to illustrate how Muir saw all of nature as a precious friend to man. However, his remarks about Native Americans are painful and harsh but probably reflect his time. Narrator Brett Barry is outstanding; he skillfully captures the language of an earlier America as his poetic delivery matches the beautiful descriptions. A wide audience of conservationists, ecologists, nature lovers, American history fans, and those who merely prefer worthwhile poetic writing will be well rewarded.‚ Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., IL

Pollack, John. The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics. 4 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 5 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781452633794. $71.99; 4 CDs. retail ed.;
1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. HUMOR/LIT

Pollack is a compulsive pun-maker who won the 1995 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championship. While some may think puns are a low form of humor, Pollack explains how punning helped shape our language and influenced the rise of modern civilization. He draws heavily from various disciplines to present what he considers the first known pun; explains the legendary Polynesian punning duels, Shakespeare’s invention of the knock-knock joke, Thomas Jefferson’s lost comments on punning; and reveals that the history of the pun goes back further than the recorded history of almost anything else. Pollack also demonstrates how the brain processes humorous wordplay. Pollack’s work aims to combine punning history with modern-day use of puns, but, surprisingly, he does not include the work of many well-known punners, e.g., Richard Lederer’s Get Thee to a Punnery (1988) and Pun and Games (1996) and Art Moger’s The Best Book of Puns (1998), preventing this title from being the definitive choice on puns. Former New York Mets announcer Pete Larkin’s resonant voice nicely balances this lively material, which will appeal to all etymologists, lexicographers, and language mavens and nicely supplements other related titles. [The Gotham pb will publish in April 2012.‚ Ed.]‚ Dale Farris, Groves, TX

Sims, Peter. Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries. 4 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 5 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781452633930. $59.99; 4 CDs. retail ed; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. BUS
Google, Pixar, Apple, NBC’s Tim Russert, Chris Rock, and others are used as examples of little bets to create new ideas and improve them again and again. Sims (Stanford Inst. of Design, Summit Partners) presents an interesting collection of examples (Failing Quickly, Genius of Play, Design Thinking) to support the various successes. Unfortunately, the roles of timing or circumstance or dumb luck are never addressed. Therefore, one should not expect to confuse the use of little bets with sure bets in the innovation process. Read by John Allen Nelson, the audiobook is recommended with reservations for a discerning listen by innovation practitioners expecting to enhance (not replace) his/her innovation tool kit.‚ M. Gail Preslar, formerly with Eastman Chemical Co. Business Lib., Kingsport, TN

Simms, Laura. The Power of Story: Women
and Wild Animals and Dance Without End.

4 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 3¬Ω hrs.
BetterListen Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781615441389. $29.95; digital download. FOLKLORE

Simms offers enthusiastic renderings of tales involving women and animals that were gleaned from assorted cultures; several of the outings have Native American origins. Simms, who includes a few creation myths, intersperses these stories with accounts of her experiences as a professional storyteller. Evocative music by Steve Gorn on several instruments supports Simms’s performance. Not all the mostly brief tales are of equal interest, and Simms occasionally interjects bursts of exuberance that might be effective before live audiences but can be jarring on audio. This should appeal to those interested in international folklore.‚ Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib.

Stewart, Amy. Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities. 4 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 4¬Ω hrs. Tantor Audio. 2011.
ISBN 9781452632841. $59.99; 4 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. SCI

Author Stewart presents an alphabetical compendium of hazardous plants (both native and exotic) that notes their harmfulness, whether it be deadly, illegal, invasive, or intoxicating, while incorporating pop culture, medicine, mythology, history, legalities, and botanical facts. The text is highly intriguing, but a lot of its charm (illustrations and presentation) is lost on the audio version, where the Latin plant names and botanical details often become repetitive. Reader Coleen Marlo is excellent and recites the botanical lingo with ease. Recommended to lovers of fascinating trivia, history, botany, and horticulture. [The Algonquin hc was a New York Times best seller.‚ Ed.]‚ Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence

Zinoman, Jason. Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2011. ISBN 9781452632698. $71.99; 7 CDs. retail ed.;
1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. FILM

Hard-core horror film aficionados may quibble with this emphasis or that omission, but for a solid introduction to the genre and its creative regeneration during the late 1960s and 1970s, it would be hard to beat Zinoman’s title. He convincingly describes how innovators such as George Romero, Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, William Friedkin, and Brian De Palma dispensed with the horror tropes of the early film era (vampires, werewolves, etc.) to produce such landmark films as Rosemary’s Baby, The Last House on the Left, The Exorcist, Carrie, Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Narrator Pete Larkin offers an adequate, neutral reading that works well for this nonfiction content. Fascinating stuff recommended for all film collections. [The review of the Penguin hc was a bit more conservative: Given the plethora of available books about horror films…scholarly ones such as Kendall Phillips’s Projected Fears and Thomas M. Sipos’s Horror Film Aesthetics, this will appeal mostly to readers seeking a general overview, LJ 5/1/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA

Zuckoff, Mitchell. Lost in Shangri-La:
A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II.
7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8¬Ω hrs. Books on Tape. 2011. ISBN 9780307917256. $40; digital download. Harper Audio. HIST

On May 13, 1945, 24 military personnel, including officers and male/female enlisted persons, took off for a leisurely sightseeing trip over the uncharted regions of Dutch New Guinea. Their trip to Shangri-La to see the remote native communities from the sky ended in disaster. The plane crashed, leaving three survivors to fend for themselves in one of the world’s most remote areas. Zuckoff tells this story brilliantly‚ the survivors’ bravery, the courage of the paratroopers dropped in to protect them, and the ingenuity of those who devised and executed the daring rescue. Zuckoff also reveals the amazing record of first contact between the Americans and local natives and how they interacted peacefully despite extreme language and cultural barriers. This title is accessible to a wide audience beyond patrons who enjoy military history and biography. [This excellent book will be enjoyed by anyone who loves true adventure stories of disaster and rescue such as Alfred Lansing’s Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, read the also starred review of the New York Times best-selling Harper: Harper Collins’s hc, LJ 2/1/11.‚ Ed.]‚ Emma Duncan, Brampton Lib., Ont.

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Michael Rogers ( is Media Editor, Library Journal and Managing Editor of LJ Reviews.