Near the end of World War II, service men and women in Dutch New Guinea knew that they would be home very soon. For some, it was a great relief. Others were conflicted. Although they did not revel in the concept of war, they were still ambitious, and wanted long-term careers in the United States Armed Forces. Therefore, opportunities to “prove oneself” were still being subtly sought after. When a local sightseeing flight went terribly awry, the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, and there was no shortage of men willing to get involved and attempt to save the day.
Battling weather, terrain, time, and just plain physics, these non-combat soldiers had very little working in their favor. Throw in some previously unknown tribes of aborigines (that just happen to be at odds with each other), and one has all the ingredients of a major potential disaster threatening to compound the first one.
This is one of those rare nonfiction accounts that makes the reader feel as though these people are your next-door neighbors. By the end of the book, you really want to know where they are now, how they are doing, did they raise families, etc. Fortunately, most of that information is there, as well as some nifty videos that are not hard to find with some Internet searching.
Rated: Moderate. The usual gang of moderately foul language, nearly always via quotation.