Friday, November 23, 2012

CBR4 #63 Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

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 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.
It took me a while, but I finally got a chance to read this book.  I was impressed how Hillenbrand's book read like a fiction book even though it was non-fiction. I was captivated with this book and I think my nurses could tell as I would rush right back to the book as soon as my testing was over. The chapters about his time in the prison camp did drag a bit for me.  I was amazed how he dealt with his POW days when getting back home and how he had an interest in returning back to Japan.

I appreciate learning about a different front of World War II. It is clear that Hillenbrand's seven years of research paid off in helping the reader experience the trials and joys that Louis did.  This book is definitely one that you should not miss out on.

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