The Airmen and the Headhunters

  • by Judith M. Heimann
  • Narrated by Susan Ericksen
  • 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


A most unusual story, made all that more intriguing by being true. Couldn't stop listening.
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- She "Bookaholic. Favorite authors- Agatha Christie, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert A Heinlein."

Not bad, just lacking

The Airman and the Headhunters isn't a bad book, it just lacks the qualities that make me want to sit in my car listening after I park. The story of the airman in the World War 2 Borneo is an interesting tale that is drawn out too long and with too many tangents to the story. The names of the numerous natives are hard to follow, the crew is never really in any danger from the Japanese, and the headhunters almost seemed like parents to the surviving crew.
I personally found the late stages of the book when the natives began to actively battle the Japanese in guerilla warfare to be more interesting. I wish it would not have been glossed over by the writer.
A similar book about rescued airman (except in the European Theater is "The Forgotton 500" by Gregory Freeman. It is far more developed and organized by the author. I suggest you investigate that book and leave this one alone.
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- Ron

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-09-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio