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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival Resilience and Redemption Author:Laura Hillenbrand On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.... more » So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.« less
Narrative histories aren't always my cup of tea; Unbroken, however, was perfect. This book is exceedingly human-- the people in it riddled with flaws and wonders that I can't describe. Louis himself is a scamp, a hero, an anti-hero, a preacher, a prankster; in all his complexity, you have to adore the man. His crewmate, Allen Phillips, equally inspired me-- his quiet competence, his humor, and the depth of his love for the financee he has to leave at home only makes you wish you could protect him from the darkness he has to face.
In this narrative, I promise, you will find a character with whom you empathize-- and the story will suck you in. Whether horrified or inspired, and oftentimes both, I was always engaged with these men's lives. Their cleverness, their losses... you grow to love each character. Knowing their stories, you want each one to find safety at the end of the war. Not all of them do.
Whether or not you love history, reading this book will give you a personal stake in World War II, helping you to understand just how deeply this conflict matters to our history and to the people who lived through it. To me, it also lended perspective to the impact of decisions made during that time. I feel I understand the era more, and understand people more for having read this.
A final note: I read this book from the perspective of an atheist and adored it. It's meaningful even for those who don't relate to the elements of God in the story. I think also, however, that it will provide particular resonance for Christians, given the role faith plays in coping with the aftermath of war. The story takes a strong stomach-- there are horrors in it-- but I'd recommend this book to any person of faith who deeply loves history. It's a good present to pick up for your book-loving, history-buff Protestant uncle, if you have one. :)
Laura Hillenbrand, who proved her storytelling abilities in Seabiscuit, returns with another inspiring real-life drama. Although it's predictably harrowing and often painful to read, the resilience of the characters under extreme circumstances is remarkable. Louie in particular reaches his breaking point many times, but is always pulled back by some undefinable something in his heart or head that preserves his sanity and fierce will to live. My only complaint, a minor one, is that after all the pain he endured, Louie's resolution seems rushed, as he makes the rather overwhelming transition from deep emotional lows to recovery in a few short pages. But overall it's a powerful story, and one that I will think about for a long time.
I received this as a Christmas present. I hadn't heard of it and wasn't too excited about it. With that being said, once I began, I couldn't put it down. This is a book that shows the will to live and a true hero. It also shows the dark side of human beings and what they are capable of. I always recommend this book to my friends. It is a must read.
This was the best book I have read in a very long time. They don't make men like Louis Zamperini anymore. The resilience of this man was beyond anything you could comprehend. Ms. Hillenbrand had you living his life with him. She brought it all to life. Life in the POW camps were beyond heartbreaking and horrifying. I truly recommend this book to everyone. I cried like a baby at the end. I would love to meet this man and give him a huge hug!
Joycelyn A. (JMJGE) reviewed Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption on
Louie's story, as the story of any POW in any of our wars, including our own Civil War are stories of survival, resilience and quite possibly redemption.
Therefore their is no need for Ms. Hillenbrand to embellish the hellish treatment Louie faced in his time at war.
Stories that are told over and over again often become bigger stories than they were when they happened. People do not mean this to happen, but it does happen.
I believe that the author's job is to tell the story with respect for the story and the truth.
Louie was so physically debilitated that he could not have possibly accomplished the tasks that were described in this story.
Which brings me to the writing in this story. Written in the third person, it was like slogging through a swamp. Pages and pages of details to describe an event. A book much too long. In a word overwritten.
Amanda M. reviewed Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption on
I decided to read this book after hearing an interview on the radio between Greg Laurie and Louie Zimperini about his time lost at sea. It was so fascinating to me that I came in the house and downloaded the book and read it all in 3 days. I then got the audiobook for my 95 year old grandmother who couldn't stop listening and hung onto the story with much delight. I don't normally like war stories, but this book has sparked an interest in me. I've since opened up discussion about my great uncle that was a prisoner during WW2 also, and my uncle that fought in Vietnam. It's caused me to care more about people's history and what has truly been sacrificed for this country. All because of this book and the story within it.
I'm also excited to see the movie when it comes out.
This is a must read if you have the time because you won't be able to put it down.
A well written, thoroughly researched story of survival. Now I want to read the book by the actual hero, Louie Zamperini, "The Devil At My Feet". Literally "torturous" but so worth reading. You'll learn so much about the war, and not just the American point of view. I came out with a much better understanding of why the Japanese were so horribly brutal.