Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

This is the story of Louis Zamperini, from his beginnings as a young Italian-American juvenile delinquent to an Olympic runner in 1936, to a B-24 bombardier in the early part of World War II, to a surviving member of a deadly plane crash, floating 47 days on a small raft with no food or water and surrounded by sharks, to a prisoner-of-war in a Japanese POW camp. But this is so much more. This is also the story of a remarkable human being, of the greatest courage imaginable, and of survival against all odds.
I am not typically enamored of war stories, but then this isn’t really a war story, although much of it takes place during the war. It is a story of man versus … well, everything. All my life I have believed that the Nazis were the cruelest torturers of humanity during WWII, and God knows they were no saints, but on reading of the cruelty and indignity suffered at the hands of the Japanese in the POW camps, I was amazed, enraged, sickened and heartbroken. Statistics show that 37% of POWs in Japanese camps died compared to 1% in Nazi POW camps.
To say that I loved or enjoyed this book would not be quite accurate. I found this book incredibly interesting, I learned so much from it, and I am very glad I read it. I strongly recommend it to everyone and really think it should be almost required reading. This morning, I was bemoaning the fact that I had a headache, had overslept, a pile of chores awaited my attention, and I had forgotten to thaw anything for dinner. And then I remembered Louis Zamperini and suddenly realized that no matter what day-to-day hardships I might experience, my life is a bed of roses. I think we all need to be reminded of that from time to time.
One review I read of the book noted that rarely was the reader actually given a glimpse into Mr. Zamperini’s thoughts, that the book was told more from the point of view of what happened to him rather than how he felt about what was happening. This is true, however it did not diminish my opinion of the book. I think the author set out to relate the story of Mr. Zamperini on a factual level rather than an emotional one. Would the story have been enhanced by more insight of Louis’ thoughts and feelings? Maybe. Maybe not. At any rate, it is definitely a first class read and one you will not regret reading.
The title, Unbroken, says it all. While Louis suffered physical and emotional pain and trauma far beyond what most of us cannot even imagine, he refused to let anything or anybody break his spirit. I am 100% certain that I would not have had the strength or courage to even survive the raft for 47 days, let alone what followed. I think the majority of us wouldn’t. But Louis Zamperini and a few others did. And that’s what this book is about. Read it … I promise you won’t be sorry!

One thought on “Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

  1. Pingback: Eight Years Ago Today … | Filosofa's Word

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