Heather D · History · In the Library · Non-Fiction

Unbroken | by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand
(Random House, 2010, 473 pages)

This is the true story about a man named Louie Silvie Zamperini. He was raised in Torrance, California by his mother, Louise, and father, Anthony, who are Italian immigrants. He has a younger brother, Pete, and two sisters, Sylvia and Virginia.

Louie was a very rambunctious child. Nothing or nobody could slow him down. In his teenage years he directed all of his energy into running. Pete started helping him with his vigorous training. He would time his runs and continuously challenge him to run faster. Louie traveled to Germany and competed in the 1936 Olympics. He ran the 5,000 meter with the time of 14:46.8 and took 8th place. When the Olympics ended he was already focusing on the 1942 Olympics and was certain he could win first place. His dream would be shattered when the Olympics, set to be in Tokyo, Japan, were cancelled due to the start of World War II.

In 1941 Louie joined the Army Air Corps and they made him a bombardier. He ended up flying on a B-24 with nine other men. He and the rest of the crew were sent to Hawaii where they conducted countless training missions over the Pacific Ocean. They were also sent out on rescue missions in search of planes that had crashed into the ocean.  On May 27, 1943 his crew was sent out to search for a B-24 plane that had been missing since the day before. Due to engine failure Louis’ plane crashed into the ocean.  Now it is up to him to survive thousands of miles from shore in a raft with a very small amount of survival gear.

The author, Laura Hillenbrand, did a beautiful job at capturing this airman’s story of survival, determination, hope, and forgiveness. She stated that she had researched his story for seven years prior to completing the book. Her hard work and perseverance have paid off. This is such a captivating story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I think this book could be read quickly but I chose to take my time because there are so many fascinating details that I wanted to make sure I captured them all. I found myself gasping out loud, wiping away tears, and cheering while reading this book. This is a reminder of what all of the brave men and women have done and continue to do for our country along with all of their sacrifices so that we can enjoy our freedom. Thank you to all of our military for serving our country!


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