Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
By Laura Hillenbrand
Paperback, 528 pages (2014)
Published by Random House
My daughter gifted me with this book for Christmas and as soon as I opened it’s pages, couldn’t put it down. What an incredible and inspiring life Louis Zamperini lived! Hillenbrand’s meticulously researched story was years in the making; her rigorous efforts and gifted writing style have resulted in a national treasure. She has brought to light not only one man’s journey through WWII, but raised a nation’s awareness of an often hidden reality: POW camps, the depth of man’s depravity and the inner battle to overcome the lasting effects of traumatic experiences for men at war.
This book is liberally sprinkled with wonderful photographs and illustrations to document the tale; it’s easy to be swept up in the sunshine and sand of the Pacific Islands in the 1940’s... equally thrilling and heart-pounding to be aboard a B-24 with Louis and crew, so skilled is Hillenbrand at her craft. I laughed, I cried.. I was awestruck reading Unbroken. As a Christian, I found the complexities of war, of evil and suffering to bolster my faith. Maybe it’s because when honor, strength, miracles and sacrifice are contrasted against such a bleak canvas, truth and light are most clearly seen.
Stories of survival have always piqued my attention, and this one is no different. It’s the essence of man at his most extreme moments that fascinates me. How does one respond physically and mentally in history’s bleakest hour? What drives one to survive under extreme conditions? And how does man cope mentally to overcome his witness to horrific crimes...? Answers and insights are given to these types of questions by sharing in the life of Louis Zamperini. The reader is truly left feeling amazed, inspired, even empowered by learning the life lessons this man has to offer.
Skip the movie, read the book.