History buffs unite- The story is that of Louie Zamperini, a track and field star during the 1930’s who competed in the Berlin Olympics. He was also part of the US Air Force in World War II, was shot down in the ocean, drifted across the Pacific ocean for over a month, was held as a POW by Japanese forces and finally made it back to his life with the courage to live it to the fullest.
I read this book in two days. If I had the time I know I probably could have finished it in one sitting. “Unbroken” grips you, draws you in, and leaves you feeling like a brand new person after reading it–somehow, it makes you feel slightly better as a person, a human being.
I was never tempted to read “Seabiscuit: An American Legend,” so this was my first experience with Laura Hillenbrand’s work. She is a sensational author. Her writing was gripping, exciting, and vivid throughout the entire story. “Unbroken” (a non fiction story) was well researched and Hillenbrand’s writing portrayed it; nothing was overly embellished. It was simply the facts told in such a way the story never even flirted with being dull.
Hillenbrand moves swiftly, taking the reader through Zamperini’s early beginnings, his quick rise to track star, the Olympics in Berlin, and then into the war. It is here, in the war, that the story truly blooms. We ride B24 bombers on the words of the man who actually flew them and the sequences in which Zamperini is adrift with his comrade Phil in the ocean are vivd and strangely beautiful. The horrors in the prison are not glossed over and Hillenbrand does an excellent job of not dwelling on the gore as some authors are tempted to do. The story of these men is portrayed by an author with the utmost respect for their life and experiences.
Solidly based on statistics and reports from both sides of the war, Hillenbrand paints a clear picture of the hellish conditions POW’S endured. This is a hard story to read as it portrays the decline of a man’s life. But it is also inspiring as that same man pulls himself up by his bootstraps and regains his sense of purpose.
This book will hold a permanent place of honor on my bookshelf. When you reach the end of this incredible journey I’m willing to bet it will a hold a place on your bookshelf as well. An awe inspiring, non fiction story, “Unbroken” will hold you spellbound from the start.