Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand 398 pages

Caution, some may find this book difficult to read.  I know I did. Louis Zamperini was a young scamp growing up.  Part of a close Italian family, he would terrorize the neighborhood, stealing pies off of window sills, brawling, and running away.  He adored his older brother Pete, who introduced him to the sport of track.  Louie was a natural.  He broke all kinds of records and was on his way to the Olympics when he was called to war.  Pete joined the Marines and Louie joined the Army.  He was a bombardier.  One day, while on a rescue mission, his plane crashed.  Louie, the pilot and close friend, Phil, and one other crewman were the only survivors.  The lay adrift on the ocean, suffering from sun exposure, starvation and lack of drinking water.  The sharks circled constantly.  The 3rd crewman succumbed.  But Louie and Phil survived for 47 days, until they reached an island and were captured by the Japanese.  How any of those POW's survived is as miracle.  This is a tale of cruelty at its highest level.  These men were beaten, starved, stripped of all dignity, and broken in mind and body.  For over 2 1/2 years Louie survived.  Once home, he became an alcoholic.  He was tormented by nightmares.  Finally, he found the strength to forgive.  This is truly an inspiring story.  I highly recommend this book.

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