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

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
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Oct 09, 11

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Powerful. Riveting. Beautiful. Probably the best book I have read this year.

"Unbroken" was our book club choice for the month, and I picked it up somewhat reluctantly. It seemed awfully big and I worried it would be too slow and too depressing. How glad I am that it was chosen! I am going to buy a permanent copy to keep and maybe one for my Dad for Christmas.

The book follows the life of Louis Zamperini, a troubled youth turned Olympic runner. He is preparing for the next Olympic games when Pearl Harbor arrives and the country is thrown into war. Louie becomes a reluctant bombardier on a B-24 Liberator. It follows his time as an active soldier, his unfortunate crash, dealing with sharks for weeks on end and no food or water, a horrifying internment in a Japanese POW camp, and his journey home seeking healing and redemption. I am leaving out spoiler after spoiler, giving as little information as possible so as not to ruin anything. But what a life!

And what a writer Laura Hillenbrand is. Here is a woman who struggles with severe chronic fatigue and yet was able to slowly produce this incredible work. I have read much non-fiction, I have read WW2 books, Holocaust books, etc etc, but never have I felt so sucked into someone's life. I felt what Louie felt. As his plane is going down over the Pacific and he and his crewmates stare at each other in horror, I truly felt that horror. I caught myself breathing fast with my heart banging against my chest. Again and again I felt like I was there, living it with them. I will also say that Hillenbrand strikes such an important balance--she lays out the gravity of the situation without tipping into graphic unnecessary shock value. There were many times I could hardly stop turning the pages. Amazing that it is a true story.

The ending of the book deals so much with forgiveness and redemption. Louis has an understandably difficult time rejoining society at the close of the war. I could not help but compare my own Grandfather, who saw such terrible things in the Pacific theater and turned to alcohol to try to deal with the pain once he came home.

I closed the book inspired, hopeful, and touched by his life and choices. I encourage anyone to read this important story.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Hannah (last edited Oct 09, 2011 07:35PM) (new) - added it

Hannah Well, I'm going to have to find this book at my library now.

Good job, Amy. This review really touched me.


Melissa Amen...agree with everyword.


message 3: by Sugeeban (new) - added it

Sugeeban My general opinion is i like non-fiction better than fiction. So, i think i should read this book which might be better than fiction, as far as the story goes.
A review which does justice to the book, i reckon.


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