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UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

The author of Seabiscuit (2001) returns with another dynamic, well-researched story of guts overcoming odds.Hillenbrand examines the life of Louis Zamperini, an American airman who, after his bomber crashed in the Pacific during World War II, survived 47 days on a life raft only to be captured by Japanese soldiers and subjected to inhuman treatment for the next two years at a series of POW camps ... Read full review

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Relentless Will
The tale of Louis Zamperini, one of our most cherished war heroes, is undeniably gripping. The book, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, is an inspirational book that truly captivates
all the emotions, details and events perfectly of this great American war hero.
As a child, Louis Zamperini was notorious as a childhood criminal who was constantly in trouble with the law. As he turned into a teenager, he transformed himself into a disciplined, well-minded kid. Two important traits that drove him to be the youngest participant in the Berlin Olympics. At the time of WWII, this treasured Olympian took his turn as an airman. This would be his greatest test of his life, it will challenge his hope, love and will to fight and survive.
It is an extensive, 500 page book, but is quite an easy and enjoyable read. The book starts off by enriching you with a unique story and constantly keeps you wanting to learn more about Louis’ unique character and it doesn’t stop there. I have never felt so emotionally connected to a character then I felt with Louis because of how perfectly detailed the author writes the events of his life. She makes you feel like you are actually living his life. Not once have I teared upon reading a book, but this made sure I have.
This book takes the inexplicable horrors of war and tells it with such precise detail. Both the gruesome scenes of Saving Private Ryan and Bridge on the River Kwai clash with Unbroken on which one is more horrific. This book is not a history book, you will not learn about WWII. Rather it’s a story in which you will be enriched with the deep emotions and great details of a great American war hero. I recommend this book for everyone to read. This tale deserves to be shared to all the American people to learn about the horrors our boys went through.
 

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this book is good

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Absolutely Amazing!

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This book was so well written. The author keeps you engaged from beginning until the end. Louie's story is so amazing. His fight for survival his willingness to survive and his fighters spirit are truly inspiring.
Great read!

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This book is one of the best book i have EVER read!!! The story of a kid who like me was doing horrible in school and was able to go from someone who not many people liked to being the hero of a small town. This story is book that i would recommend to those who like both military and survival.

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A ripping good read. True yes, but it is not short on embellishment for dramatic effect. For example the claim that in Zentsuji POW camp, an American died on the last day of November is not quite correct. An RAF officer Fl/Lt Moulden passed away on November 21st principally from starvation but also he had been subject to punishment because whilst sick in the sick bay (and you had to be extremely seriously sick to be allowed into the sick bay) he was caught with leaf tobacco smuggled into the camp.
On 12th November a Major Barret suddenly died, (official reason internal hemorrhage, probably brought on by diet - or lack of.)
However do not let this put you off as it is really a story of survival in times of severe adversity and as such is an inspirational story.
My one complaint is that it does not need the embellishments. For example here is an excerpt from a POW's diary from Zentsuji:
"Weds Nov 15th 1944
... reduced to lowest level of human existence just holding on to the border of painful hunger or malnutrition (grip of) ready to tip over on mortal starvation."
Does not actually need dramatic embellishments.
 

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Forgiveness... this story weaves it though the soul of a man who cannot escape the cruelty inflicted by others, leading to his salvation.... culminating in joy. It is a lesson to be learned by the many fortunate people, my self among them, who never know the unmerited terrors life can bring. This book is not only entertaining, it's informative and evocative. Read... and open your heart.  

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A profoundly moving story about the transcendent capacity of the human spirit to endure the unspeakable. The biographer of Louis Zamperini describes his delinquent childhood, the successful redirection of his errant energies into running, and his history as an award-winning Olympian before his entry into the Army Air Force during WW2.
The crash of his plane over the shark-infested Pacific Ocean began a whole new chapter in Louis' life. Imagine 46 days with no food or water and hungry sharks rubbing the bottom of the lifeboat in eager anticipation?
Author Laura Hillenbrand analyzes Louis' capacity to survive:
"Though all three men (in the life raft) faced the same hardship, their differing perspectives of it appeared to be shaping their fates. Louis' and Phil's hope displaced their fear and inspired them to work towards their survival and each success renewed their physical and emotional vigor...Louis and Phil's optimism were becoming self-fulfilling."
Their fateful landing was not at all the joy they'd hoped for: they were held POW in Japanese camps and there treated to the most inhumane of cruelty by Japanese guards, the worst being `The Monster' Watanabe who, through incessant beatings, tried to deprive Louis and his friends of their most important possession - human dignity.
Author Hillenbrand comments: "This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness; to be deprived of it is to be de-humanized, ...In its absence, men are defined not by themselves, but by their captors... In captivity in Kwajalein, Louis and Philip learned a dark truth known to the doomed in Hitler's death camps, the slaves of the American South, and a hundred other generations of betrayed people."
This powerful history cum biography describes amazing American and Australian POW survival tactics that kept them alive and as well, outlines the worst consequences of survival, namely post-war trauma, wherein the victim of abuse can actually destroy his own rescued life.
We learn how Louie's post-war trauma was healed and with every page are astonished at this brave story of human resilience.
Congratulations to author Laura Hillenbrand for her excellent accomplishment of 400 pages of inspiration.
Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife
 

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Well done. Great history lesson.

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