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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand [ book review ]

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Movie review I did earlier of the same title. By the way, the book is MUCH better. I loved the movie and didn't see how the books could be better, but there are many things that weren't in the movie or weren't clarified. One of the main things was Louie's life after the war.

My rating: 5 Stars.

Genre:WWII biography

Buy on Amazon.


Note: Book may not be appropriate for younger readers. Graphic and disturbing details related to war and post-war.

Amazon.com Review: From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comes Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know. --Juliet Disparte



My review:
Louis Sylvie Zamperini, the son of Italian immigrants, leads a rebellious life, getting into trouble with every sort of thing imaginable.

No one could restrain him or influence him for good, it seemed, until highschool when he discovers running.

From then on Louie's life is changed - from the outside, at least. Devoting his whole life to running, he gives up most of his bad habits and trains his body to take the impossible.

Unawares, he is training his spirit and mind to defy any and all obstacles.

Soon Louie is competing in professional races - and passing every professional athlete with ease. Overnight, it seems, his name is known nation-wide. He thrives on the glory and has high anticipations.

Then Pearl Harbor is attacked. America is at war. Running is forgotten. Louie is drafted into the air corps.

Another life starts. Louie is able to train and party mostly as much as before with only occasional calls to duty at first.

But Louie's job isn't just dangerous while in action. Men and planes are lost regularly just from accidents and malfunctions with the engineering.

Louie and his friends laugh death off. But it is real. And it is close. Closer to all of them than they realize.

It all starts when the Louie and his fellow crew members crashed into the ocean while searching for another plane.

To survive this, seems impossible, but what is to come will be ten tines worse. No water, no food and little hope of rescue the future looms ahead with in certain death and pain. Sharks, imprisonment as POWs, torture, starvation, disease, all this is yet to happen - for the ones fortunate enough to survive the crash.

To survive seems impossible, yes. But maybe surviving isn't what really matters. Trying to hold on to his dignity, self-worth, pride is near impossible, and Louie will find surviving unbearable. Some things are hard to forget.

Louie finds he needs something else in order to not be broken. To be worth something.



My thoughts -WARNING- Plot spoilers: This author writes in a very interesting, interacting way. All 400+ pages seemed well worth their space.

Not only did I learn a lot while reading this ( like how dangerous the air corps were while NOT on duty, the POW lifestyle and the aftermath of the war on the people involved ) it was a very inspiring, enjoyable read.

Loved the history. It was neat reading of WWII from the Pacific/Japanese point of view.

Several times throughout Louie Zamperini's life his life has no worth. As a child he was able to give himself some self-worth by running, but that was only for a short time.

And even then, he did not lead a good lifestyle, and while in the army, almost everything he did was for selfish motives.

After the war he tried to run again, but was not able to due to injuries. He then realized he'd wasted his whole youth for something that couldn't last his whole life. Again, he was nothing. Worthless.

He was as before. Until he gave his life to God. Then everything was different for real. Everything became selfless. He had no bitternes or anger, and he gave up his temptations, saving his life and marriage.

Another interesting thing, was the author tried to find even the the reasons behind why the men that tortured the POW's were the way they were. How they had become so corrupt and lacking of compassion.

While on the life-rafts, stranded in the ocean, according to the book, even though starvation and dehydration was a constant threat it was easier to bear that than being a POW because of how they ( Phil and Louie ) had their rights taken away and were humiliated. They explained how one of the main things that actually causes one to die is lack of dignity or self worth.

One of the ways the POW men kept their pride intact was by refusing to feel inferior. They would play secret pranks even at the cost of death, steal things as worthless as a pencil box and give their captors mean nicknames.

Just the satisfaction of stealing from the officials gave them all the feeling that they could still be their own person, that the Japanese had no control over their minds.

I think this would be a good book for all to read, but may not be appropriate for younger readers. Again, you are sure to learn lots and it is a very good read.


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