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

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
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's review
Dec 29, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: history, biography
Read from December 29, 2011 to January 02, 2012

Louie Zamperini makes me feel less of a man. Dominant miler, Olympian 5,000 meter runner, WWII veteran, survived almost two months on a life raft, killed sharks with his bare hands, and survived what seemed like a dozen different POW camps, including a few run by the Hand of Satan himself. Laura Hillenbrand paints one of the most vibrant biographies I've ever read in re-telling Louie Zamperini's unbelievable story. Of course, it helps that Zamperini's story pretty much speaks for itself. If this biography were made into a movie, nobody would believe the depths of hell from which Zamperini dug himself out of.

Beyond just Zamperini, though, Hillenbrand brings the reader into the life of an AAF soldier in the Pacific. The death and POW statistics are just staggering and humbling to someone who has not served their country (like myself). Hillenbrand went to great lengths to sprinkle the story with bits of details that make the reader feel as though they are on the raft with Zamperini, or in the camps. Often, I must say, when you almost don't want to, such as the descriptions of the gruesome conditions, soul-crushing work, and humiliating treatment of the POWs.

It must be hard for Zamperini to hear his story retold so vividly and so completely, but I am glad Hillenbrand took the time to piece it all together.

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