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Download Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II, by Wil S. Hylton Click for printable size audiobook cover
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In the fall of 1944, a massive American bomber carrying eleven men vanished over the Pacific islands of Palau, leaving a trail of mysteries. According to mission reports from the Army Air Forces, the plane crashed in shallow water—but when investigators went to find it, the wreckage wasn’t there. Witnesses saw the crew parachute to safety, yet the airmen were never seen again. Some of their relatives whispered that they had returned to the United States in secret and lived in hiding. But they never explained why.

For sixty years, the US government, the children of the missing airmen, and a maverick team of scientists and scuba divers searched the islands for clues. They trolled the water with side-scan sonar, conducted grid searches on the seafloor, crawled through thickets of mangrove and poison trees, and flew over the islands in small planes to shoot infrared photography. With every clue they found, the mystery only deepened.

Now, in a spellbinding narrative, Wil S. Hylton weaves together the true story of the missing men, their final mission, the families they left behind, and the real reason their disappearance remained shrouded in secrecy for so long. This is a story of love, loss, sacrifice, and faith—of the undying hope among the families of the missing, and the relentless determination of scientists, explorers, archaeologists, and deep-sea divers to solve one of the enduring mysteries of World War II.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A powerful tale of war that’s also a briskly-paced thriller of forensic sleuthing. Read Vanished, and you’ll never think the same way again about the Pacific Theater—or the heroic flyers who gave their lives fighting in it.”

    Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Hellhound on His Trail

  • “Wil Hylton has given us a superb book.”

    Ben Fountain, New York Times bestselling author of Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk

  • “Spellbinding, moving and masterfully researched, Vanished is at once a first-rate mystery and an ode to the timelessness of a loved one’s memories.”

    Robert Kurson, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers

  • “A great read. Wil Hylton documents America’s noblest policy in riveting narrative detail.”

    Stephen Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Bullet

  • “Spanning the years from the 1940s to the present, Vanished fits a history of the flying unit and of the larger Pacific campaign into accounts of the underwater archaeologists, anthropologists, and professional divers enlisted to hunt for the plane…Seven decades after eleven airmen fell out of the sky, Hylton has finally given them a proper burial.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Selected for the November 2013 Indie Next List
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About the Author

Wil S. Hylton is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Baltimore.