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

Author(s): Wil S Hylton


Praised by Robert Kurson, Philipp Meyer, Hampton Sides, Michael Paterniti, and many others "A powerful story, masterfully told."--"GQ" "[A] deeply textured, propulsive new book...a phenomenal writer."--"" "Marries an almost cinematically well-paced narrative with a deep sensitivity to the people whose lives it tells."--"The Boston Globe" "Superb... Part Pacific Theater history, part Indiana Jones thriller."--"Newsday" As featured on NPR's "Weekend Edition" and "The Diane Rehm Show" 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 U.S. 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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Praise for "Vanished" "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, author of "Ghost Soldiers" "A B-24 bomber is shot down over Palau in 1944, its crew never recovered. After sixty years, one hardly expects a happy ending, yet such is the love of the airmen's families, and the dedication of the men and women who take up the search, that a fierce hope burns through every page of "Vanished." Wil Hylton has given us a superb book."--Ben Fountain, 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. In writing it, Wil Hylton has done more than tell a beautiful story; he has spoken, as his heroes do, to one of man's noblest instincts, that no one should be left behind." --Robert Kurson, author of "Shadow Divers" "A beautifully reported tale sprawling from Texas to the South Pacific. Hylton writes about fathers and sons, what is lost forever, and what can be found after all hope is gone. Vanished is a crucial book for anyone who cares about the cost of war." --Stephen Rodrick, author of "The Magical Stranger" "A great read. Wil Hylton documents America's noblest policy in riveting narrative detail." --Stephen Hunter, Pultizer Prize-winning author of "The Third Bullet" "This is an astonishing, kaleidoscopic book--part mystery, thriller, and ghost story that happens to be true. I read it with goose bumps, convinced that Vanished will take its place among the classics of World War II literature. Wil Hylton is a storyteller extraordinaire. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for honoring the fallen with such clear-eyed, bighearted power here."--Michael Paterniti, author of "Driving Mr. Al

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

General Fields

  • : 9781594487279
  • : Riverhead Books
  • : Riverhead Books
  • : November 2013
  • : 236mm X 160mm X 25mm
  • : United States
  • : December 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Wil S Hylton
  • : Hardback
  • : English
  • : 940.5426966
  • : 272
  • : black & white illustrations, maps, frontispiece