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

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
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May 16, 12

bookshelves: nonfiction, history, world-war-2
Recommended to Otis by: Kara
Read from May 06 to 16, 2012

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.

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Quotes Otis Liked

Laura Hillenbrand
“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.”
Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Laura Hillenbrand
“Louie found the raft offered an unlikely intellectual refuge. He had never recognized how noisy the civilized world was. Here, drifting in almost total silence, with no scents other than the singed odor of the raft, no flavors on his tongue, nothing moving but the slow porcession of shark fins, every vista empty save water and sky, his time unvaried and unbroken, his mind was freed of an encumbrance that civilization had imposed on it. In his head, he could roam anywhere, and he found that his mind was quick and clear, his imagination unfettered and supple. He could stay with a thought for hours, turning it about.”
Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Laura Hillenbrand
“We just sat there and watched the plane pass the island, and it never came back," he said. "I could see it on the radar. It makes you feel terrible. Life was cheap in war.”
Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
tags: life, war


Reading Progress

05/09/2012 page 121
26.0% "Shocked that 5/6 of the airman deaths in ww2 were from accidents." 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Jane Oh I am so glad that you are reading this.


Otis Chandler How come? I finished btw.


Felicity Me, too - till 3a.m. on 3 consecutive nights. And how many of the returning POWs had psychiatric problems ... no wonder!


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