Steven Kent's Reviews > Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jul 18, 11

bookshelves: nonfiction

I really wanted to love this book. At times I did, but I spent too much time simply liking it to give it a fourth or fifth star.

Unbroken is the story of Louie Zamperini, an amazing man who survied incredible hardships. He would likely have been the first man to break the four-minute mile had he not been sucked into the second World War and wound up in a Japanese prison.

The book begins with the excitement of Zamperini entering the Olympics and meeting Hitler. (At this point, the book was a four-star book, verging on five, for me.) Then Zamperini enters the war as a bombardier in the Pacific.


THings go from bad to worse. First Zamperini is in a plane that crashes over the ocean. He sets a new survival record as he and two buddies starve, shrivel, and outlast sharks while dodging the occasional Japanese plane.

From here, his exploits go from bad to worse and we slog through hundreds of pages of depressing, violent, gross, morbid reality. I would not dare dispute anything in the book, but that doesn't mean I enjoyed reading about beating after beating, plus disease, abuse, bad living conditions, cruelty and more.

After a while, reading the middle third of this book became a chore. Then things get worse yet as Zamperini returns home, develops a drinking habit, and worse. The redemptive final chapters are touching, deeply touching. That said, they did not make up for all of the maudlin middle chapters. This is a good book, but I think the prisoner of war and adrift at sea chapters went on too long for my taste.

That said, Louie Zamperini is an undeniable hero! I am so glad I learned about him and his amazing life... I just wish I learned about it with a few less details.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Unbroken.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.