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

Reviewed by Allen Hott

UnbrokenThis is quite a story about an Olympic runner from the U.S. team In the Berlin Olympics of 1936. Although he didn’t win the race (he finished 8th) but he ran the fastest final lap not only in the race but of anyone in distance running in the Olympics. His time of 56 seconds was so astounding that Adolf Hitler made a point to meet and congratulate him at the race’s end.

The runner was Louis Silvie Zamperini, son of Italian parents who moved the family to California where they basically lived in severe poverty in the late 20s and early 30s. Louie led a slightly tough young life as he was basically a wild young man. At an early age he was drinking, smoking, and actually living like a bandit in that he would steal food especially as he was always hungry. He always felt that he could fend for himself in all areas. He was lucky in that his older brother, Pete, who was almost a direct opposite type of boy, took very good care of Louie. There were also two younger sisters in the family who helped to somewhat control Louie.

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.