I recently finished Unbroken: A World War II story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand which I really enjoyed. Hillenbrand’s first booked was Sea Biscuit which good though I did not understand all the hype surrounding it. On the other hand this book really stood out and deserves all the kudos it is currently receiving. It was obvious Hillenbrand had done copious amounts of research and there was just the right amount of background information to add depth to the story. I find that books that have too much background information tend to lose the flow of the narrative.
The book is the true story about Louis Zamperini who started out life as a troubled youth but managed to turn his life around when he discovered a passion and talent for running. At the time he was one of the contenders to be the first person to break the 4 minute mile and competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Just as he was reaching his running prime WWII broke out and Louis was drafted into the Air force As a B-24 bombardier. He was based in the Pacific where tragedy struck and his plane went down into the ocean. Louis and two other were in a life raft for weeks and weeks only barely managing to survive by using all their wits and skills only to eventually be picked up by the Japanese. His terrible ordeal was just beginning as he was sent through a series of POW camps in which the prisoners were treated to progressively worse and worse conditions.
At first I did not understand why the book was called Unbroken. As the story progresses and you think things can’t get worse for Louis and they do he never lets the dire situation break his spirit and always manages to make it from one day to the next. In fact his unbreakable spirit even makes him a target for the Japanese Officers who are determined to break him. Louis was a true hero from a very dark period in global history. This an inspiring story and I could not recommend it more.