“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand (Website | Facebook) is the amazing non-fiction story of Louis Zamperini (Wikipedia) an American athlete, World War II Air Corp bombardier who survived a crash and interment in a Japanese POW camp.
- 473 pages
- Publisher: Random House
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781400064168
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is a gripping, well written and diligently researched book. It is hard to decide what’s more amazing, Louis Zamperini’s story or Ms. Hillenbrand’s telling of it.
OK, Mr. Zamperini wins – but by a small margin.
The story is amazing, but the prose is brilliant. Ms. Hillenbrand uses a straightforward narrative without testing the reader’s knowledge of the English language. Each sentence is plain, clear and understandable, which to me only shows that it was labored on rigorously. The account is so descriptive one can almost feel themselves floating in the shark infest waters for a 1,000 miles with Zamperini and his friends.
But “Unbroken” is not only the story of Zamperini, but also of World War II from the vantage point a POW who was uncertain when the sun rose, whether he’ll get to see it set again. The confusi0n which the men felt during their time as POWs only expatiated after the war, when they realized the political games being played by the world’s leader at their expense.
The book is divided into five parts:
Part I – where we meet the juvenile delinquent Louis Zamperini and his family. Always getting in trouble for breaking & entering, fighting and stealing, Louis finally finds his calling on the track and becomes a prodigy in short distance running.
Part II – After a commanding performance in the Berlin Olympics, Louis’ dreams of a medal get tarnished with the events leading to World War II. The athlete becomes an airman. Louis’ crew mates and buddies train for bombing missions on their B-24 and even have several successful runs. Feeling lucky to be alive they rejoice everyday until they are forced to go on a rescue mission (the plane they were given was not air worthy) and crash into the Pacific.
Part III – Adrift at sea Louie’, Phil and Mac survive and astounding 47 fighting sharks, hunger, thirst, heat and cold. They drift 2,000 miles only to become POWs.
Part IV – The survives are sent to the dreadful island of Kwajalein, known as “Execution Island” and unexpectedly sent to Yokohama, a POW camp. Louie meets his share of sadistic POW guards, disease, starvation and slave labor. However the stubborn man lives through the ordeal to the end of the war, all the way home.
Part V – Louie’s home, but the war leaves its scars, both physical and emotional.
Epilogue – What happened to the those mentioned in the story. A wrap up.
Acknowledgment– well worth reading. The author tells of her research, interviews and more.
Notes – Certainly worth a glance.
- Bestselling book “Unbroken” optioned for film (reuters.com)
- Francis Lawrence to Direct UNBROKEN Based on the WWII POW Experience of Louis Zamperini (geektyrant.com)
- Universal Acquires Bestselling Book UNBROKEN as Directing Vehicle for Francis Lawrence (collider.com)
- Louis Zamperini endures (powerlineblog.com)
- The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Running (time.com)
- Stardom is coming back for Louis Zamperini (laobserved.com)
- Can Laura Hillenbrand Top ‘Seabiscuit’? (newsweek.com)