I can't wait to read this. Having known Celeste personally and all of the work she has done to preserve the stories and memories of those who served oI can't wait to read this. Having known Celeste personally and all of the work she has done to preserve the stories and memories of those who served our country, this will be a treat!...more
This was a splendid personal account of one soldier's experience during the battle of Iwo Jima and the first flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. Wheeler exThis was a splendid personal account of one soldier's experience during the battle of Iwo Jima and the first flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. Wheeler explains in great detail the emotions of fear, determination, shock, and everything else that came within those historic moments. I felt that the book, while covering a horrific portion of WWII, was written with feeling and detail and in such a way that even a teenager would be able to read without being immersed in blood, guts and language, yet still get a vivid view of the human cost to take Mt. Suribachi. ...more
This book is a must read. Read Lone Survivor first. SEAL of Honor was written long enough after Opeation Red Wing that much of the classified informatThis book is a must read. Read Lone Survivor first. SEAL of Honor was written long enough after Opeation Red Wing that much of the classified information was de-classified so you get a more indepth look at the operation itself. However the book is not about Operation Red Wing, but about Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Michael Murphy. This book is powerful and Murphy's life and legacy were powerful. An amazing man who gave everything. Ironically and sadly enough, many of the men that served with Murphy and Luttrell were killed in 2011 when the Taliban ambushed a chinook helicopter with a RPG killing over 30 special forces servicemen, including Jon Tumilson. This book shows the intense dedication, intellect and time Michael dedicated to becoming a SEAL. Michael not only died a hero but it is clear that he lived as a hero as well. ...more
I purchased this book months ago but initially couldn't bring myself to open its pages. I read the reviews when it was released and heard how powerfulI purchased this book months ago but initially couldn't bring myself to open its pages. I read the reviews when it was released and heard how powerful it was, yet I still purposefully kept it on my shelf. Because I interact with WWII veterans on a weekly basis, and dig in to their personal stories and experiences, I knew that Unbroken would be an emotional ride for me, knowing so many veterans, including former POW's I knew it would take on a more personal meaning... and once I opened its pages .. it did. Yes, this book is absolutely powerful and no less stunning.
Laura Hillenbrand does a superb job of presenting details which I felt were so imperative to Louis Zamperini's story. Learning of his character and life as a child and young man, and how so many of those experiences intertwined with things he would experience later, even down to the small detail of shaking Hitler's hand at the Olympic games. As a military enthusiast and lover of history I appreciated the historical, world, and military details that Laura included to tie Louis' story together. I also enjoyed the details on the B-24 which usually takes a back seat to the B-17 when it comes to telling stories of heavy bombers during WWII. These details, I felt allowed the reader to get a better understanding of the many facets that were in play during the war. Specifically a better understanding of the Japanese and their culture up to that time. Often as an American it's easy to compare their barbaric behaviors during that time with our current culture and it's hard to wrap our mind around things like that even happening. While I felt that what the Japanese did to the POW's and many of their own citizens was absolutely sub-human, the details of their culture put it in to perspective that this is what their culture generally taught, albeit still hard to imagine.It doesn't justify it but explains it.
I have read many stories of horror and triumph and felt a myriad of emotions but while reading Unbroken I felt a sense of bitterness in a way that I've never felt before. I credit this to Laura's ability to tell the story in a such a powerful way that it brought it to life and most importantly to Louis who was able and willing to tell his story, detail by detail. Most of the POW's I've spoken with almost never go in to details but usually just talk about being hungry, life revolved around being hungry. So my utmost respect and humble appreciation goes to Louis for standing as a representative for those who never made it out alive to tell their story and for those who are just not able to tell their story - too much pain.
But the books real purpose is a story of triumph and freedom, not necessarily physical freedom but the freedom from the bitter poison of hatred, a cancer to the soul, to overcome evil with forgiveness - that through Christ all things can be healed. I thought it was ironic that these men fought for freedom yet after the war became prisoners to the atrocities they endured. My only wish for the book would have been to spend a bit more time on Louis healing experience, yet, maybe it really was that quick. Still, quick or not, it was remarkable and I found that I could not hold on to my bitterness while reading the book, after all, I was just reading it and he really experienced it, so if he could forgive why couldn't I? More than that it was a powerful reminder that our attitudes, determination and willingness to forgive no matter how hard it may be no matter how large the offence, God really can help us take a horrific situation and turn it around and touch others lives. Similar to Corrie Tenboom's "The Hiding Place" this book is life changing and is a story that I will continue to carry it's lessons with me - as it really puts things in to perspective.
On a further note I watched a brief film clip of Louis when he first returned to Japan, he had what looked like a smile larger than life on his face and reached out his hand in a gesture to shake a Japanese man's hand. Initially the Japanese man did not reach out his hand (this may be a cultural difference) and Louis gestured again and then reached closer and the man finally took his hand. One could almost sense a feeling of jubilation from Louis. Truly amazing. This book is well worth the read and in my opinion should be on everyone's bookshelf. ...more
This is a book that every American should read, and then read again, and then have your teenagers read it. Our service men and women don't get recogniThis is a book that every American should read, and then read again, and then have your teenagers read it. Our service men and women don't get recognized enough for what they do for their country, but there is another group of service men who don't get any recognition at all becuase their jobs require that their identity be kept hidden: the special forces, and in this case the Navy SEALs. This is the true account of the largest loss of SEALs in the history of the Navy SEALs, and the survival of Navy SEAL, Marcus Luttrell. This book will make you angry, amaze you, make you cry, and will remind you of the sacrifice and leather hard guts that the SEALs have. I've met Marcus and he is another in long line of true heroes, patriots and living in honor of his friends who were killed. Hooyah to you men! Mike, Danny, and Axel, your sacrifice will not be forgotten. ...more
If you've never heard of the "VUMS" this is a fascinating book. VUMS stands for "Veterans of Underage Military Service" and this is the third volume sIf you've never heard of the "VUMS" this is a fascinating book. VUMS stands for "Veterans of Underage Military Service" and this is the third volume showcasing hundreds of stories of young men and young women who lied about their age to join the service in WWII. One of the youngest being Billy Trero, who was only 13. I am acquanted with 6 VUMS, Trero included. It will amaze you what a kid will resort to in order to serve at a time when the whole country wanted to help in the war. Hooyah! to these great men and women. ...more