Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Unbroken Book Review

A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

SUMMARY:  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.  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 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.

REVIEW:  Oh my goodness!!  Where do I even begin?  This is an awesome story!!  The things this man did and saw in one lifetime is unreal, but true.  As a child, Louie was a mother's nightmare, constantly testing the limits of everything and everyone.  As a teenager, he broke track record after track record in racing which eventually took him to Berlin Olympics to compete with the American team. While in the Pacific Theater with the Army Air Forces to fight the Japanese, he and his pilot broke the record for the longest time at sea in a life raft before they were found by the enemy.  Louie survived trial after trial when he is captured by the Japanese.  Daily beatings, starvation, dehydration, sickness, slavery, torture and the threat of death by his captors during the two plus years he was a POW were only a few of the things he faced as a POW.  
     This book is long (almost 400 pages with small print) but if you can stick with it, you will see all God accomplishes through, with and for this man.  Even though the author does go into detail about the things Louie faced in the POW camps, it is necessary to understand the story and his reactions once he returns home.  Ms. Hillenbrand goes into great detail to show you what life was like for Louie before, during, and immediately after the war but also what he accomplished afterwards too.  This is a great book that will stay with me long after I have put it down.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, won the Book Sense Book of the Year Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, landed on more than fifteen best-of-the-year lists, and inspired the film Seabiscuit, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  Hillenbrand's New Yorker article, "A Sudden Illness," won the 2004 National Magazine Award, and she is a two-time winner of the Eclipse Award, the highest journalistic honor in thoroughbred racing.  She and actor Gary Sinise are the co-founders of Operation International Children, a charity that provides school supplies to children through American troops.  She lives in Washington, D.C.  More information about the author and this book can be found at and

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