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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
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Monthly Reads > Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

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Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments This looks like a bit of a long book by page count, but when I read it, I did it in a weekend; I couldn't put it down! It's a beautiful book, though with some dark places, and I can't wait to hear what you all think!


Jeanne Alana wrote: "This looks like a bit of a long book by page count, but when I read it, I did it in a weekend; I couldn't put it down! It's a beautiful book, though with some dark places, and I can't wait to hear ..."

I agree Alana. The author just brought the story alive for me. Her book on Seabiscuit was like that too. I so enjoy her writing. Look forward to the movie. Great choice.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments I loved horse stories growing up, so Seabiscuit was an obvious one for me to pick up, but boy, she made that story absolutely come to life! I was way excited to pick this one up, and it did NOT disappoint!


Zeljka (ztook) | 2937 comments Mod
I read the first chapter last night, and really, it is very captivating! I was just a tiny bit disappointed with no explanation whatsoever for why he behaved that way, what was the drive behind that. I don't think such behavior was amusing to anybody but himself, not to mention it was simply wrong :/


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments I'd forgotten how crazy he was at the beginning. Was interesting to see how he grows from that :)


Zeljka (ztook) | 2937 comments Mod
I managed to read the whole book in a single month - I believe I wouldn't ever if I were not on vacation! I really enjoyed the book, it was so fascinating that I am now really eager to see the movie as soon as possible.

What shocked me the most? The fact that there were so many futile non-combat induced deaths in the air forces... I cannot imagine how it was to be a pilot with awareness that that particular day might just be the last day of your life... And nobody would be surprised afterwards... Horrible - how these terrible airplanes passed their prototype phase? Even lifeboats were so horribly inadequate. Those were different times I guess - today somebody would have to be held responsible for so many deaths that could have been avoided.


Jeanne Zeljka wrote: "I managed to read the whole book in a single month - I believe I wouldn't ever if I were not on vacation! I really enjoyed the book, it was so fascinating that I am now really eager to see the movi..."

I never even thought of that. That is so true. I would imagine it would be hard to say how much of a priority it was to invent planes that were safe or if there was a clue of what that even meant. Now it seems as disasters happen, changes and improvements are made so that survival increases.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments I think a lot of it back then was that we were in such early phases of learning how all of those crafts functioned and in the Air Force in particular, these were men trying out maneuvers that had never been done before. Wasn't that the era of breaking the sound barrier, etc? (although that was probably a little later, more the Space age). Remember, flight had only been around for at most 30-40 years, not that long when you think about all of the incredible advances made.

Plus, I think they were more fearless back then and not ready to sue everything that breathes.


Zeljka (ztook) | 2937 comments Mod
Lol yes I understand that, without airplanes the outcome of the war on Pacific probably wouldn't be the same, and they had to use whatever they had. I just feel that they didn't adapt equally fast to the problems they got along with them. There was somewhere in the book a mention of the request made for better lifesaving gear (I do not have the book beside me to check what was it exactly), but the order was delayed for some unknown reason, and Louie wasn't among those "lucky" ones who had it.

I didn't refer to the lawsuit kind of responsibility, but rather to the personal awareness of army bigwigs that people wouldn't die in vain if they reacted accordingly to the issues. It wouldn't be the first nor the last time people died for nothing though - the Great War trenches are marvellous example of that. It just makes me sad. I guess at the beginning of the war, the fear of losing the war overall and success of some aircraft missions outweighed the worry for the number of fatalities caused by the rest of them.


Jeanne Wonderfully worded both of you! I am not quite old enough to remember Pearl Harbor, but I would imagine as I did with 9/11 that it was such an out of the blue attack that planning for every conceivable scenario and outcome would be impossible. Don't you think? It is though quite miraculous that people still do survive such atrocities.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Well the lack of protection around Pearl Harbor was a whole other matter, but definitely in that "avoidable" category Zeljka was talking about. I think it's more the lack of security features in the plans skew was referring to tho. But yes, in all those matters of war (and otherwise) things have changed a lot since then. And like that or 9/11 or so many other tragedies, it always amazes me the stories of heroism we hear afterwards and what people are able to accomplish in the midst of it all.


Zeljka (ztook) | 2937 comments Mod
Yes I agree, such stories always amaze me too. This one is the perfect example!


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments So my fiance and I went and saw this on Christmas Day. So many details I'd forgotten! It was rough watching all of the images at sea, I think even moreso than the POW camp images. I just can't imagine the boredom and slowly approaching death. And the movie, while showing the Bird to be pretty despicable, didn't even capture how off his rocker the guy really was! I was a little disappointed at how much summarizing there was of the second half (there was about two sentences summarizing his faith journey, for example), but overall I really liked it. Not exactly an easy popcorn flick, but certainly worth watching (although beware of scenes of hardship and violence for young viewers).


Zeljka (ztook) | 2937 comments Mod
Alana wrote: "So my fiance and I went and saw this on Christmas Day... Not exactly an easy popcorn flick, but certainly worth watching... "

I am so glad to hear that! I briefly glanced some reviews that weren't quite favorable, as if Jolie ruined the story! I hoped they all just a bit exaggerated the issues, just because the director was a woman, but I didn't dare anyway to go to the cinema, because I really liked the book. I thought of postponing the film till it comes out on dvd, but now I might rethink that :)


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments No, it's worth seeing. A tad different, but not much, as far as the early details. I just felt all the good things that happened to him later were quickly summarized and she didn't show as much of the positive side of his story. Partly due to time constraints, understandably, but still. But still a good movie.


Zeljka (ztook) | 2937 comments Mod
I just saw the movie and I think you are right about it. The story was there, all the important bits, but what was missing mattered more I think - I wish there was a lot more of Zamperini after the war, and I wish there was more of character development.
There was one moment in the movie the prisoners were all lined up, and I realised in horror that I know who the actors are, but have no idea who their characters are. In the book you had all the characters so well fleshed out, that you were interested in the fate of them all. Here I didn't know any beside Zamperini and Bird. Even Bird was not like I thought he'll be - not so menacing and unpredictable as he was in the book.
There were two scenes that could have made the film so much better - first on the ocean and that one with the plank. With the first, you had three characters struggling to survive on the little craft in the middle of nowhere, and I couldn't feel any chemistry between them. I didn't feel they even tried to act like they are in trouble, you know, like in some movies where you wonder where that power to perform so genuinely comes from. Just remember Tom Hanks in Cast Away! The plank scene also seemed so unreal. It was hard to determine the passing of the time, and, I don't know how to explain that feel, everything seemed off in that scene. The only absolutely great and touching scene was the last one, the real Zamperini running with the torch at the Olympics.

I am sorry if this sounds like I am bashing the movie. It is OK to watch like a TV biopic, but when you know the material was really epic-worthy, it is disappointing.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments I understand what you're saying, that's pretty much how I felt. The key elements were there, but the HEART was missing.

And yes, I was rather amazed that Hollywood, with its penchant for exaggeration, actually made the Bird seem LESS psychotic and unbalanced than he really was!


Zeljka (ztook) | 2937 comments Mod
Alana wrote: "I understand what you're saying, that's pretty much how I felt. The key elements were there, but the HEART was missing."

Yes, you summed that up perfectly.


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