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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Every now and then a book comes along that will stick with you for the rest of your life. For me Unbroken is one of them. The story is based on a true story about the life of Louis Zamperini. 

Zamperini, the son poor Italian immigrants, grew up in California and was a wild child on the path to serious delinquency when his older brother Pete finally managed to help him harness his energy and direct it toward running. Run he did, distinguishing himself and going on to compete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Zamperini had to set his dreams of a second chance at an Olympic medal aside when the second world war broke out. He became an airman/bombardier who made it through several narrow escapes only to have his plane The Green Hornet crash land in the Pacific. Louis and his captain survived an unsurpassed 47 days at sea in a life raft, with no food, water, surrounded by blood thirsty sharks.

Just when things seemed they couldn’t get any bleaker they were captured by the Japanese and imprisoned as POWs. Thus began the unbelievable saga of human suffering, imprisonment and abuse at the hands of the Japanese, a fate comparable or even worse than the Jews in the Nazi concentration camps. How anyone could survive such an ordeal is unfathomable, but Louis did.

The story reveals humanity at its cruelest and most loving giving a glimpse of both hell and heaven. I won’t give away the ending, but it is a remarkable story. This is not a “Christian book” per se, but there is strong thread of redemption and forgiveness. At times what this man survived was so terrible I thought I might not be able to finish the book, but I am glad I did. A riveting story that is superbly written. I hear that it is slated to become a major motion picture. Don’t miss this book. I give it five out of five stars.

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