Saturday, May 14, 2011

UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken is sub-titled "A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption." It is all of that and more. When I finished Hillenbrand's remarkable recounting of Louis Zamperini's saga, I missed Louie. The author so involves the reader in Zamperini's life that I felt intimately connected with him.
As a boy, Zamperini had been a wild delinquent, but when he hit his teens his older brother guided him to channel his energy into running. Zamperini's talent carried him to the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Then when war came, he enlisted as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.
Two years later, his plane was shot down over the Pacific Ocean, and as far as the world knew, Louis Zamperini was dead. For the reader of Unbroken, the story is just beginning. Along with two other surviving crewmen, Zamperini struggled to a tiny life raft and began his extraordinary odyssey.
If Unbroken were told in pedestrian prose, it would still be a captivating story. However, Hillenbrand's gifted writing raises this book to the highest level. As an example of her literary skills, here are a couple of sentences from the book:
"Gathered in drifts against the buildings were some two hundred whisper-thin captive Allied servicemen. . . . They were as silent as snow."
I highly recommend Unbroken, both as a history and as a celebration of the human spirit. The book does contain graphic and heart-wrenching scenes depicting Zamperini's ordeal, so I don't recommend this story for younger readers.
Once you’ve read Unbroken, I'd love to hear your opinion. You can contact me through Facebook or through the contact page here on my website.


Post a Comment