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

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
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Feb 03, 13

bookshelves: six-star-worthy, wwii-and-holocaust, autobio-bio-true-story, christian
Recommended for: Anyone 13+
Read from June 22 to July 10, 2012

Some people would think, "What a big, boring book!" at first glance. To tell you the truth, that was my first take. However, this book is very far from boring and unlike any book I've ever read, let alone biographies. I don't remember one page where I felt I was about to die of boredom. In most biographies, it gives you the facts, and it reads like a boring textbook. Not Unbroken. You can feel the thrill of Louie winning a gold medal. You can feel the trepidation Louie feels when sharks roam underneath his raft. The writing style is unbelievably fantastic!! There is no other biography that is as accurate as this (it took her 7 years to write and research!) and as interesting.
Would you believe the son of an Italian immigrant who was known for nothing but stealing and causing trouble would become an Olympian AND war hero? Well, thats the case of Louis Silvie Zamperini.
Louie's Life:
-A troublemaker
-An Olympic runner
-Pilot
-Survivor of an inflated raft for 47 days
-Japanese POW
-War hero / alcoholic (from war)
-Minister/Christian
In the first part of this bestseller, it profiles Louie's life as a kid and how he went from the "One-Boy Insurgency" to the "Torrance Tornado". He began a hobby of running, and ran himself to the 1936 Nazi Olympics. I wonder what his parents would have said if someone told them their "bad" boy would become an Olympian AND famous war veteran.
The second part is his early life as a pilot in the third war.
The third part is about his life stranded at sea with his friends, (Louie says his defiance as a child helped him survive this; defying death) Mac and Phil. Their adventures include getting shot at by the Japanese, catching a 4-foot shark, and killing albatrosses. This part is similar to an episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive".
On the 46th day, they spotted land. On the 47th day, they reached land. (Their journey afloat is chronicled in an episode of Shark Week, episode Afloat: 47 Days With Sharks
The fourth part was about Louie's time as a POW.
The fifth part is about Louie and Phil's life in captivity. Up until this part, it deserved a light PG-13. Here's where it gets a little R-ish. But it is all delivered realistically and most definitely not happily. Chapter 21 profiles Louie and Phil's family back in the US. Both families refused to believe Louie and Phil were dead. "Come Home" by OneRepublic feat. Sara Bareillies would probably describe this chapter best; with Louie's family just saying COME HOME!!
Chapter 23 profiles "The Bird", who was about as psycho as Hitler.
(One of my many favorite parts) Once, when deathly sick, The Bird made Louie hold a huge 6-foot wooden beam over his head. Louie did, for 37 minutes. The entire time Louie was thinking "He CANNOT break me." true true true.
The last part is about Louie's post-war life, his struggle with alcoholism, and his commitment to Christ.
My favorite part is Chapter 38, when Louie keeps the promise he made on the raft (Part 3) that he would serve Jesus forever if he survived. He gave up alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, decided not to divorce, and changed his life around as a new creation in Christ. He ends up creating a camp for troubled boys, ministering, and is quite physically active.
I did wonder what would have happened if WWII never happened. Would Louie have made the 4 minute mile? I believe so. Would I have known who Louie Zamperini was? How spunky he was and his amazing story how he became a runner? Probably not. Would Louie have found Christ? Maybe.

I was going to let my sister read this but then thought otherwise. It had some sexual content, lots of violence (of course) and b******p**s, a**, d***, and h*** are all used, although not at all frequent. Page 285, "What the f*** do you care?" A guard is nicknamed "S***head". His new appears a few times.
http://www.theliteratemother.org/unbr...
http://www.compassbookratings.com/rev...
Very rarely will I find a book this good. I mean, there's the books you like and then there is the few that you never forget, and this is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. You can just TELL from the very first page that it's going to be an amazing book and Hillenbrand has passion for what she writes. I recommend it 110% to ANYONE. Occasionally I'll find a book that has me intrigued from the start. This one had me hooked the entire time. don't care if you hate sports and war, it's a well-written, fast paced novel (with no "boring" parts) about Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.
The only thing I didn't like was the lack of info about Louie's ministry. His memoir "Devil at my Heels" has more on that.
So, I'd strongly encourage you to read this.
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Quotes Anna Liked

Laura Hillenbrand
“Finally, I wish to remember the millions of Allied servicemen and prisoners of war who lived the story of the Second World War. Many of these men never came home; many others returned bearing emotional and physical scars that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. I come away from this book with the deepest appreciation for what these men endured, and what they scarified, for the good of humanity. It is to them that this book {Unbroken} is dedicated,”
Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

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


Reading Progress

06/25/2012 page 16
3.0% "very interesting so far!!"
07/03/2012 page 130
27.0% "Part 3. Holy cow... Sounds like the shark survivors on "I Shouldn't Be Alive""
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Dme (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dme I agree and disagree. I found this book very interesting from the start and my opinion never changed since.


Ryan Declerck Are you really not going to let your sister read it because it has a few bad words? That's a bit ridiculous.


Anna My sister is 12. I think the sex and violence was a bit too much. Think before you comment.


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