Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Reviewed by Teri Davis

What is your breaking point? Do you have one? Has there ever been some moment in your life when you have been so desperate that there is no hope? What would keep you going? What would keep you from being broken? What would it take to break your body, your spirit, and your emotional well-being? More importantly, what would get you beyond it?

Does fate decide your life?

Louis Zamperini was a rambunctious child who in his teen years became a juvenile delinquent. He had his own way of doing things. Fortunately his older brother saw his hidden gift of running and assisted Louis into improving and taking up the sport of track. He excelled to the level of the 1936 Olympics and had the dream of possibly breaking the 4-minute mile. Although he didn’t win a medal, he did win the attention of Adolph Hitler and the fans with the immense speed on his final lap.

With the Americans entering World War II, Louis along with numerous others, grabbed the opportunity for greatness, to become a bombardier. After a close brush with death on a mission, he became part of a salvaged crew that felt doomed. They were. Their plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean with only three survivors floating for days on end with the ever present sharks. What do you think about during this time? How do you survive? Even more importantly, will you be rescued and how will you be rescued?

Louis Zamperini had to learn to then survive in a Japanese POW camp. He then had to readjust to coming home with the dream of again becoming an Olympic athlete. When that didn’t work out, he discovered the challenge to just rejoin
the regular everyday life. At each event the reader is there with him, understanding every choice.

It is seldom that you can actually journey step-by-step with someone along their life as you can in this book. By this observation, you can’t influence Louis but you have a deeper respect for the man and who he became.

Unbroken is non-fiction that reads like fiction. It is the powerful and memorable story of one man’s extraordinary life. More importantly, by reading about his life, each person feels that spark of inspiration and of hope that keeps us going each day.

Reading Unbroken is definitely a journey that I am glad to have read.

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