Wow. Amazing story, and well told - kept me up late at night! Louie Zamperini truly went through hell and came back - and it's inspiring to read a story of such willpower and determination. It was also interesting to me to learn more about Japan and their role in the war.
One big takeaway was just how cheap human life
is in war. I think there was some stat about how 5/6 of the US airmen that died did so from accidents - that is simply staggering.
I love WWII stories, but most of the ones I've seen and read have focused on Germany, so I really didn't know much about how Japan had treated their POW's. It was pretty eye opening to read the stats about how they pretty much massacred hundreds of thousands of POW's. And of couse, as the story details, they also did not follow Geneva Conventions and pretty much treated POW's as slaves.
One of my favorite points the author made is best illustrated by this quote about Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen.
This is a fundamental truth of humanity that the author really drew out well - if you take a persons dignity away you take everything away. I loved all the stories of POW's being defiant; stealing food, supplies, playing jokes, etc. The little bits of defiance were enough to let them take back their dignity, and I think thats what makes them so compelling; because while we haven't all been POW's, we can relate to that basic need.