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Extended Audio Sample The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen, and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II, by Judith M. Heimann, Susan Ericksen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (143 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Judith M. Heimann, Susan Ericksen Narrator: Susan Ericksen Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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November 1944. Army airmen set out in a B-24 bomber on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast. Instead they found themselves unexpectedly facing a Japanese fleet—and were shot down. When they cut themselves loose from their parachutes, they were scattered across the island’s mountainous interior. Then a group of loincloth-wearing natives silently materialized out of the jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers? Or would the Dayaks risk vicious reprisals to get the airmen safely home? The tribal leaders’ unprecedented decision led to a desperate game of hide-and-seek and, ultimately, the return of a long-renounced ritual: head-hunting.

A cinematic survival story that features a bamboo airstrip built on a rice paddy, a mad British major, and a blowpipe-wielding army that helped destroy one of the last Japanese strongholds, The Airmen and the Headhunters is a gripping, you-are-there journey into the remote world and forgotten heroism of the Dayaks.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Susan Ericksen] is consistent, fluent, and distinct. Having a woman narrate a story all about men puts Ericksen at no disadvantage.”

    AudioFile

  • “Heimann brings a visceral urgency to one of WWII’s most unlikely tales.”

    Entertainment Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lori Watson koenig | 2/16/2014

    " Just an all-around amazing book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Keith Bell | 2/5/2014

    " World War 2 survival story. Could have been a better story if the author had of included more commentary from the survivors themselves. I do understand that access to accounts was limited but will look for other accounts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Vicki | 2/4/2014

    " Fascinating, and I chose to read this after watching the PBS special. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lance Geiger | 1/22/2014

    " A gripping tale for lovers of Military hostory. "

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About the Author

Judith M. Heimann is a career diplomat and the author of The Most Offending Soul Alive. She spent seven years living in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and speaks Indonesian. She traveled to three continents and interviewed all the surviving Dayaks and airmen in her research for The Airmen and the Headhunters. She lives in Washington, DC, and Brussels.