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Biography Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Updated on October 4, 2015
DeborahDian profile image

Deborah Dian, a published author and voracious reader, often shares books with her friends and family. She loves to write reviews!

Bombers Crashed Frequently During World War II -- Including One That Carried Louis Zamperini

Sadly, bombers during the early days of World War II were unreliable, unstable and crashed frequently ... including the one carrying Louis Zamperini.  Later bombers have been improved.
Sadly, bombers during the early days of World War II were unreliable, unstable and crashed frequently ... including the one carrying Louis Zamperini. Later bombers have been improved. | Source

The Unbreakable Louis Zamperini - A World War II Hero

Louis Zamperini was a difficult, delinquent teenager who lived a life full of more dramatic highs and lows than most people can ever imagine experiencing in their lifetimes. His tremendous defiance and anger fueled him into becoming an Olympic runner who competed in the Berlin Olympics prior to the start of World War II, even meeting Adolph Hitler.

Once World War II started, Zamperini volunteered to join the army and, only a few months later in May of 1943, the bomber in which he was flying crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Only Louis and two other soldiers managed to pull themselves into life rafts. Everyone else on board was killed instantly in the crash.

However, the lives of the survivors were in as much danger as before. Still ahead of them were weeks of fighting sharks, starvation, thirst and Japanese aircraft. Despite their desperate struggle, all three of them would not survive. For the two of them that did, even worse horrors were ahead in the form of years spent in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

This book is not a tragedy, however. It is a story of strength, resilience, faith and the human spirit because, ultimately, Louis Zamperini was able to remain "unbroken" despite the harsh treatment doled out to him by his enemies. While not wanting to give away the plot, let me just say that he did not let his circumstances define him. Instead, he was able to move on with his life and even forgive his enemies ... but not until he suffered from a stressful period of PTSD.

This is a book that will stun, amaze and inspire you for years to come.

Angelina Jolie is currently directing a movie version of the book. The members of my book club were very affected by the story and we all looked forward to seeing the movie when it came to theaters. However, the movie version, although good, was somewhat disappointing because it ended only two-thirds of the way through the book ... before he returned to the United States. If you want to know the full story of what Louis Zamperini experienced, you will want to read the book.

In addition, Louis Zamperini was recently selected to be the Grand Marshall of the 2014 Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California. He died before being able to serve in this capacity. However, out of respect for him, the Rose Bowl Committee did not choose an alternate Grand Marshall. Instead, his family road in the parade, instead.

Laura Hillenbrand, a gifted non-fiction writer, is also the author of "Seabiscuit" which was made into a highly commended movie a few years ago. You will see both of these books advertised below. Either one is well worth reading.

"Unbroken" is a Biography You Will Not Soon Forget

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

This is the amazing story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who went on to serve in World War II, survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, spent weeks floating aimlessly in a life raft, and was cruelly treated as a prisoner of war. The most incredible part of the book, however, is that he was eventually able to forgive his enemies and lead a happy, productive life.

If you want to see the price, read an excerpt or learn more about any of the books featured in this article, just click on the blue product name and you will be taken to its Amazon page, where you can check out the reviews or look at the other choices.

 

Another World War II True Story That May Interest You

If you are a student of history or simply enjoy reading about the impressive soldiers of the "Greatest Generation," here is another book that will interest you.

They say that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. The experiences that these people went through are situations that none of us would want to repeat.

There is so much to admire and learn from these brave soldiers.

"Monument Men" is Another Exceptional Book about World War II

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

This book has also been made into a major motion picture and is a fascinating story of people who tried to save a number of priceless works of art from the Nazis.

 

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    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      I highly recommend reading "Unbroken" and "Seabiscuit" before seeing the movies. Both are able to go into so much more detail!

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I watched Seabiscut only last year. The movie felt like the book had a lot more to say. In this case I think I would rather read the book before watching the movie. Reading the book can be spoiled by watching the movie first.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 3 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      We read Unbroken for our book club last year. I really enjoyed the book and the discussion we had at our meeting. Good review.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      This has been on my list for over a year. Reading your review makes me think I should move it up. Thanks for sharing this.