by Laura Hillenbrand
The “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” is a beautifully told story of a courageous wonderful man Louie Zamperini. This is a very well written story adventure for anyone interested in WWII or in human resilience. In the narrative, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, the harrowing story of Louie Zamperini’s life as a Prisoner of War in World War II is flawlessly conveyed, bringing readers mixed emotions, as they witness the ups and downs of one man’s extraordinary life. Louie Zamperini grew up in Torrance, California where he was introduced to running by his older brother, Pete. Louie’s inspiring natural talent compelled him forward until he had become one of the best runners in the world. With the Olympics well within his grasp, Zamperini decided to sign up as a member of the air force to avoid being drafted into a less desirable position. Louie’s Olympic dreams were put on hold as he travelled California, training to serve his country. Being that, the equipment Louie was dealing with, wasn’t of stellar quality.
Indeed each time Louie’s plane took off, a foreshadowing of the inevitable danger leapt onto the page. On May 27, 1943, Louie’s life was spared as his plane crashed into the ocean, but the blessing quickly became a curse as Louie spent the next forty-seven days trapped on a lifeboat with no food and minimal water. When Louie finally escaped hell on the lifeboat, it is not for the better. Louie spent over two years being shipped around different Japanese war camps, each growing more terrible. Hillenbrand relates Louie’s hardships and makes the readers’ heartache for the trials Louis endured, throughout his time as a prisoner of war in Japan. Particularly Hillenbrand expertly describes Louie’s discovery of God. Evolving from a man with little knowledge of Christian faith, Louie experiences angelic visitations after vowing to serve the Lord forever, if he could only be saved. “On a fortieth day, Louie was lying beside Phil under the canopy when he abruptly sat up. He could hear singing. He kept listening, it sounded like a choir. He nudged Phil and asked him if he heard anything. Phil said no. Louie slid the canopy off and squinted into the daylight. The ocean is a featureless flatness. In short, unbroken is a fabulous novel conveying the tragic and fantastic story of Louie Zamperini’s unbelievable survival.