Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.
image from: www.npr.org
For several years, this book has been recommended at my book club. It was finally chosen for this month's discussion. I was happy to have the deadline that made me actually pick up the book and read it. WOW! What a story!
Hillenbrand researched, interviewed and composed a great story. The book is not just a biography of Louis Zamperini. It is a story of man's ability to endure. The writing is so descriptive that I often felt like I was experiencing Louis' trials. Hillenbrand also puts in footnotes to add value to the story.
The bulk of the story is Louis' time in a Japanese POW camp. I realized that most of my knowledge of WWII concerns Europe and the Jewish Holocaust. I did not know that such horrible treatment of people also existed in Japan. "Historians estimate that the Japanese military murdered between 200,000 and 430,000 Chinese, including the 90,000 POWs, in what became known as the Rape of Nanking" (Hillenbrand 88). After reading the treatment of Louis at Omori, I wanted to kill The Bird myself. He was a horrible man.
Louis' mother never doubts that her son is alive. "A fierce conviction came over Louise. She was absolutely certain that her son was alive" (Hillenbrand 139). This is after he's been missing for quite a long time. She never wavered.
The book is divided into five parts. Part Five was the most compact section. Without giving away the story, I will say this part of the book was also the most rushed for me as the reader. She does include an epilogue as well.
One complaint I do have about the book is the switching back and forth between names. Sometimes I had to stop and remember who she was writing about because she flipped between using the first and last name.
I flagged many things in the story, but I think to appreciate the story, one must read it and let the experiences, suspense and shock come as the story unfolds. I hope the upcoming movie does the story justice.