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

Wow, what a story!

The author skillfully narrated the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympian runner: his entire life story from birth, to becoming a fast runner, to being drafted a B-24 Bombardier When his aircraft, Green Hornet, crashed into the Pacific Ocean. He and 2 other guys survived the crash and drifted on a raft and fought off sharks’ attacks for 47 days and ended up in an island controlled by Japanese and became an underground POW to be used as a propaganda vehicle. He later survived the sadistic abuses of the prison guard and the ultimate tormentor – Corp. Mutsuhiro Watanabe. Up until the end of the war for over two years, he was under the abuse and random acts of violence from the psychopathic “Bird.” The unbelievable amount of indignant injuries both physically and psychologically inflicted on Louie and many other POW’s in the camp left a deep scar on Louie and others even years after the wars ended. Louie was able to overcome his alcoholism and the nightly “Bird” demon through religion thanks to Bill Graham.

I must say Louie came across as the iron man, training for Olympics, winning the collegiate 1-mile championship after being sabotaged on the track, surviving the dog fight which killed several others in their “Superman” B-24, and then the crash of the Hornet, then overcame the thirst, hunger and the attack of sharks during his 47-day drift in the ocean, then surviving the POW camp, then fought off the demons and alcoholism upon his return. He’s now over 93 years old and still going on strong. Amazing. How true the saying goes, “What don’t kill you make you strong.”

This is probably the best autobiography book I’ve ever read – very inspirational. The facts were well researched and the author kept the readers going and wanting for more. The twists and turns of the stories trumps most fiction stories.

The atrocity of Japan military will go down as one of the most vicious and inhumane in human history. Let the story be the reminder of human cruelty of an extremist government and the people serving that government to advance its objective. It would be a major accomplishment of Louie Zamperini if his story prevents the history from repeating itself.