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

May 22, 2012

This review discusses some important details to the story. 

I am absolutely amazed at the resiliency of some people...and Louis Zamperini is one of those people. I loved this book so much. There is something thrilling about reading a true story that is more exciting and unbelievable than any fiction ever could be.

For me, the most unbelievable part of the story was not the 20-foot shark leaping onto the raft with jaws opened wide; nor was it the Bird's unrelenting attacks in the dead of night. No, I had the hardest time believing Louie's overnight transformation (literally) after the war. Here he is, drinking himself into oblivion, having horrible flashbacks and nightmares, and then one day, he listens to Billy Graham and remembers the promise he made on the raft, and, BAM!, no more bad dreams, no more alcohol, a changed man. Once he made the decision, it just seemed to happen so easily and effortlessly. I definitely believe in the power of the Atonement to change people, but I know many who have struggled for years with various ailments and issues, and it's part of their personal growth to work through their problems. Maybe it wasn't as easy as the writing made it sound, or maybe it had to do with Louie's personality: his intense drive and determination to overcome any challenge in his way. Really amazing no matter how you look at it.

And it wasn't just the story itself that I loved; it was the writing as well. I felt like Hillenbrand kept it all true to eye witnesses, personal accounts, fact, etc. It was paced well. She pulled in other sources to offer a more complete picture of the war. Just really, really good. I want to read Seabiscuit now.

Everyone should read this book. I really do mean that. It will restore your faith in the strength of humankind (after totally crushing your faith in the goodness of humanity, that is). It will make you think that maybe, just maybe, if you had to, you could do impossible things too.

(Content note: there is some language, including one instance of the f-word. I like to be forewarned, so if you're like me, there you go.)

I wrote this review before creating this blog.

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