One of my Christmas gifts was a book entitled Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. Normally, I get a few books each Christmas- ones that I have picked out in advance and passed along as “gift ideas.” 🙂 This book however was not on my list. It was new to me. I had not previously seen it, nor had I ever heard of Louis Zamperini.
I enjoy WWII history along with a good adventure story and this book seemed to have it all. Actually it had much more. What I thought was just another ineresting book about another adventure-filled, semi-forgotten chapter in WWII turned out to be a “wow” story. The life story of Louis Zamperini is one of the most inspirational I have ever read.
He was a world-class runner on the verge of breaking the four-minute mile. He ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and even met Hitler. WWII erupted and like most in the “greatest generation” Louie enlisted and soon was flying over the Pacific in a bomber. These parts of his life were thrilling in themselves, but it was after he found himself afloat for weeks on a rubber raft in the Pacific and later captured and imprisoned by the Japanese Army that his story really becomes riveting.
But that is not all. Louie’s story- if possible- is deeper than just this. It is what happens after he returns home- trying to cope and adjust- that impacted me the most.
If you like WWII history. If you enjoy true-life adventure stories. If you want to be inspired. If you want your faith reaffirmed, then read this book. Understand however, that Hillenbrand is graphic at times in detailing life, language, and suffering in POW camps.
And BTW. Louie is still alive and enjoying life. Check out the promo video below.