Devil at My Heels (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Oct 6, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
59 Reviews

An "inspirational" and "extraordinary" memoir of one of the most courageous of the greatest generation, Devil at My Heels is a must-read for anyone who read and loved Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Lauren Hillenbrand. Now with a new foreword exclusive to the ebook edition, in which Louis Zamperini reflects on his life through 2010 and being the subject of Hillenbrand’s critically acclaimed biography.

A juvenile delinquent, a world class NCAA miler, a 1936 Olympian, a WWII bombardier: Louis Zamperini had a fuller than most, when it changed in an instant. On May 27, 1943, his B–24 crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Louis and two other survivors found a raft amid the flaming wreckage and waited for rescue. Instead, they drifted two thousand miles for forty–seven days. Their only food: two shark livers and three raw albatross. Their only water: sporadic rainfall. Their only companions: hope and faith–and the ever–present sharks. On the forty–seventh day, mere skeletons close to death, Zamperini and pilot Russell Phillips spotted land–and were captured by the Japanese. Thus began more than two years of torture and humiliation as a prisoner of war.

Zamperini was threatened with beheading, subject to medical experiments, routinely beaten, hidden in a secret interrogation facility, starved and forced into slave labour, and was the constant victim of a brutal prison guard nicknamed the Bird–a man so vicious that the other guards feared him and called him a psychopath. Meanwhile, the Army Air Corps declared Zamperini dead and President Roosevelt sends official condolences to his family, who never gave up hope that he was alive.

Somehow, Zamperini survived and he returned home a hero. The celebration was short–lived. He plunged into drinking and brawling and the depths of rage and despair. Nightly, the Bird's face leered at him in his dreams. It would take years, but with the love of his wife and the power of faith, he was able to stop the nightmares and the drinking.

A stirring memoir from one of the greatest of the "Greatest Generation," Devil at My Heels is a living document about the brutality of war, the tenacity of the human spirit, and the power of forgiveness.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
34
4 stars
13
3 stars
10
2 stars
1
1 star
1

Review: Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian's Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II

User Review  - Sharon King - Goodreads

After reading Unbroken a few years back I was interested in reading Louis Zamperini's own version, in his words. What Hillenbrand left out, Zamperini eloquently stated about his acceptance of Christ ... Read full review

Review: Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian's Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II

User Review  - Paul - Goodreads

A fantastic read and a great true story. Zamperini had such an eventful life and this book generously conveyed that. You can't put this book down, it's a definite page-turner. Read full review

Contents

That Tough Kid Down the Street
1
The Torrance Tornado
22
WorldClass
38
On aWing and a Prayer
54
Prepare to Crash
82
Adrift
97
Execution Island
117
We Regret to Inform
132
If Goat DieYou Die
175
The Long Road Home
190
The Hollow Hero
208
A Second Chance
229
Forgiveness
249
Not Every Old Soldier Fades Away
267
Acknowledgments
290
Copyright

The Bird
150

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 166 - In grateful memory of who died in the service of his (her) country at . He (she) stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it he (she) lives— in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.
Page vi - Prisoners of war are in the power of the hostile Power, but not of the individuals or corps who have captured them. They must at all times be humanely treated and protected, particularly against acts of violence, insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against them are prohibited.
Page vi - Prisoners of War are in the power of the hostile Power, but not of the indi•dividuals or corps who have captured them.
Page 1 - Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely, and who rely on you in return.
Page 124 - HE STANDS IN THE UNBROKEN LINE OF PATRIOTS WHO HAVE DARED TO DIE THAT FREEDOM MIGHT LIVE, AND GROW, AND INCREASE ITS BLESSINGS. FREEDOM LIVES. AND THROUGH IT, HE LIVESIN A WAY THAT HUMBLES THE UNDERTAKINGS OF MOST MEN...
Page 214 - Good? Bad? Mixed up? Or can't you tell? That's OK, though. It's exactly the way thousands of men have felt who have come back ahead of you. Some of them wanted to talk it over.
Page 1 - I possessed when confronting alone organized inhumanity on a greater scale than I had conceived possible. In prison, I learned that faith in myself alone, separate from other, more important allegiances, was ultimately no match for the cruelty that human beings could devise when they were entirely unencumbered by respect for the God-given dignity of man. This is the lesson many Americans, including Louis, learned in prison.

About the author (2009)

A son of Italian immigrants, Louis Zamperini was a world-class runner and an Olympic athlete, competing at the 1936 Games in Berlin. At the peak of his career, he left sports to fight for his country as a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Forces. When his B-24 crashed over the Pacific Ocean in 1943, he was stranded at sea for 47 days, only to be captured by the Japanese and held prisoner for over two years. After the war, he returned to the United States and founded the Victory Boys Camp for wayward youth and became an inspirational speaker. Zamperini's story was told in his autobiography Devil at My Heels and made famous in Laura Hillenbrand's phenomenal #1 bestselling biography Unbroken, which has been made into a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie.

David Rensin has written and cowritten thirteen books, five of them New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Los Angeles.

Bibliographic information