Mitchell Zuckoff

Award-winning, New York Times Best-selling Historian & Journalist

Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University where he is the inaugural Sumner N. Redstone Professor in Narrative Studies. He is the New York Times best-selling author of Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II and Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II, which won the 2012 Winship/PEN New England Award for Nonfiction. His latest book is 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi (written with the Annex Security Team: six CIA contract operators who responded to the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi). A sought after keynote speaker, he has spoken at more than two- dozen universities during the past decade, at historical and business groups, and at veterans’ organizations with a special interest in World War II and the Greatest Generation.

Zuckoff’s talks – whether they are about the stories behind the stories of his books or vivid recounting of the actual stories – are multi-media presentations illustrated with rare film footage and photos. His talk based on 13 Hours, which was launched with a story in the New York Times and an hour-long documentary on Fox-TV, sets the record straight on what happened during the night of September 11, 2012 when terrorists attacked the U.S. State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A team of six American security operators fought to repel the attackers and protect the Americans stationed there. Those men went beyond the call of duty, performing extraordinary acts of courage and heroism, to avert tragedy on a much larger scale. Zuckoff’s riveting account takes audiences into the action-packed story of heroes who laid their lives on the line for one another, for their countrymen, and for their country during the thirteen hours of that now-infamous attack. 13 Hours is headed for the big screen with Michael Bay (director of the “Transformers” movies) in talks to direct, a script from Chuck Hogan (The Town, The Strain), and backed with big budget from Paramount.

In his fascinating Lost in Shangri-La talks, he reveals one of the rare untold stories of World War II, the extraordinary mission to rescue male and female survivors of a U.S. military plane crash in an isolated corner of the South Pacific, and the ancient indigenous tribe members who aided those stranded on the ground in this “Shangri-La.” In his Frozen in Time talks Zuckoff takes audiences on a journey of survival, bravery, and honor in the vast Arctic wilderness during World War II that is both a poignant reminder of the sacrifices of our military personnel and a tribute to the everyday heroism of the US Coast Guard.

Zuckoff’s previous books are: Robert Altman: The Oral Biography, one of’s “Best Books of 2009”; Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend, a New York Times Editors’ Choice book; and Choosing Naia: A Family’s Journey, which received the Christopher Award and was named a Massachusetts Honor Book. Zuckoff is co-author of Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders, which was a finalist for the Edgar Award.

Zuckoff’s magazine work has appeared in The New Yorker, Fortune, and other national and regional publications. He is a former special projects reporter for The Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting. He received the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Livingston Award for International Reporting, the Heywood Broun Award, and the Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award, among other national honors.

Zuckoff received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri, where he was an O.O. McIntyre Fellow, and was a Batten Fellow at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He lives outside Boston with his wife, Boston Globe photographer Suzanne Kreiter, and their two daughters.

Praise for Mitchell Zuckoff’s Talks

“Mitch brings those terrifying months in New Guinea into perfect focus, while entertaining and engaging his audience. It was wonderful, and we’re a tough audience.”

—Kate Dobson, Cancer Clinics of Excellence

“Mitch is a funny, dynamic speaker, and our audience was enthusiastic about his presentation. I couldn’t have asked for a better speaker for this event. He ranks near the top of my list of favorite speakers, and I’ve been doing the speaker program here for a quarter of a century!”

—Nelson D. Lankford, Ph.D. Vice President for
Programs, Virginia Historical Society

“Mitchell Zuckoff did a wonderful job as our CommunityREAD author.  Lost in Shangri-La generated lots of great discussion in our community, drawing attention to CommunityREAD from some groups we don’t normally appeal to.  Mitch related well to all of the groups he spoke with, including high school students, professional women and the general public.  We’ve had lots of positive feedback from community members in attendance.”

—Sarah Clevidence, Findlay-Hancock County Public Library

“Mitchell Zuckoff is an engaging speaker with thorough knowledge of his subject. He entertained and informed a high school audience, and provided an informative and appropriately humorous presentation for adults. Those who had already read Lost in Shangri-La were thrilled to gain ‘inside’ information, and those who had not yet read the book were inspired to do so.”

—Deborah Grimmett, Abington Public Library

Praise for Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time is an excellent, affecting book of considerable suspense…. [Zuckoff’] is a skilled writer, reporter and researcher, but what gives his latest book its power is his poignant, persuasive depiction of men under arms.”

Wall Street Journal

“In this true-life nail-biter — as nimbly paced as a novel — Zuckoff toggles between the events of 1942–43 and 2012, when he documented a quest to locate the Duck’s wreckage.” A

Entertainment Weekly

Frozen in Time makes WWII history seem fresh. [It’s] non-fiction that reads like a page-turner of a mystery. It’s filled with heroism, tragedy and remarkable persistence, in the past and present.. Zuckoff is a good writer and rigorous researcher.”

USA Today

“The gripping story of a WWII-era plane crash, the survivors who braved subzero conditions, and the modern-day quest for answers.”


“When it comes to riveting nonfiction, author Mitchell Zuckoff has a knack for finding fascinating but forgotten stories from World War II. This is a truly suspenseful and thrilling American story of perseverance with a worthwhile payoff in the final pages.… [A] must-read.”

—CNN Online

“Mitchell Zuckoff has a nose for the classic adventure story…. As he details the bomber crew’s odyssey…weeks stretch into months, but the pages fly by as you eagerly read on. Will they ever get home safely? Zuckoff’s mastery keeps readers wondering all the way to the end.”

Boston Globe

“Once again, Mitchell Zuckoff has uncovered a thrilling historical tale and told it masterfully. Seamlessly interweaving the past and the present, Frozen in Time is one of those epic adventure stories that will hold you in its grip from beginning to end.”

—David Grann, Author of The Lost City of Z

Frozen in Time is a beautifully-written war yarn, but at its heart, it’s a non-fiction mystery — the tale of a group of heroes united in a desire to solve a riddle buried in the Arctic ice.”

—Hampton Sides, Author of Ghost Soldiers and Hellhound on His Trail

“Zuckoff has produced a wonderful book that combines telling details, thoughtful background and vivid storytelling into a fascinating tale of courage, war and perseverance.”

Seattle Times

“Fierce… Mitchell Zuckoff recounts a harrowing tale of survival in Greenland during World War II…”

New York Daily News

“Harrowing…. Zuckoff…[has] earned his literary reputation uncovering forgotten adventure stories.”

New York Post

Praise for Lost in Shangri-La

“A truly incredible adventure.”

New York Times Book Review

“[A] gripplingly cinematic account. . . . A remarkable cast of characters. . . . A.”

Entertainment Weekly

“Mitchell Zuckoff has uncovered, and vividly reconstructed, such an astonishing tale. . . Zuckoff skillfully builds narrative tension and deft character portraits. . . . He has pulled off a remarkable feat — and held the reader firmly in the grip.”

Washington Post

“This is an absorbing adventure right out of the Saturday-morning serials. . . . Lost in Shangri-La deserves a spot on the shelf of Greatest Generation nonfiction. It puts the reader smack into the jungle. ”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A riveting tale in the hands of a good storyteller. . . . Lost in Shangri-La is the most thrilling book, fiction or nonfiction, that I have read since I can’t remember when.”

Seattle Times