(The book's full title: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption)
I don't usually read nonfiction, unless it's a memoir, and the reason is that I tend to get bored with them. Unbroken is technically a memoir, although not an autobiography; the subject of it, Louis Zamperini, has told his story to Hillenbrand, who has recorded it for posterity. Although the book was a bit slow in parts, overall it was an interesting - and true - read.
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.
The author writes of Zamperini's life in a very detailed, but often very plain way, which is why I didn't connect to some parts of the novel. We first learn about his running years, and how they started; the Olympics; and then his entry into WWII. It is from there that tragedy starts, with Louie's plane sinking into the ocean - he has to survive on a raft for many months, with a few of his comrades - and being captured by the Japanese.
Overall, I did like this book, and I'd recommend it for anyone who is a fan of nonfiction or biographies. It made me really want to see the movie (although it premiered around Christmas time so I may have to wait for Redbox), and I watched the trailer the other day as well and it looks great.
The amount of turmoil that Louie went through during the war was astounding, too - he also had a fair amount of luck, too, and an unbreakable spirit.
3.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes plus a Family Christian appreciation certificate for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
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