As you can tell from the massive amounts of book reviews I do on this blog, I like to read. I don't like to limit myself to just fiction (although I do enjoy a good made up story to get lost in.) I often find myself drawn to biographies and autobiographies. I love reading stories about people's lives. When I first heard of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, I knew I would HAVE to read it. Not only do I appreciate the massive amounts of historical information in the book, I also have a huge appreciation for those that serve in our military. I knew that this book was going to discuss World War II and that we would get a glimpse into the lives of our soldiers that became prisoners of war in Japan, so I knew it would be a difficult read. I also knew that I owed it to these men who sacrificed so much for our freedom to read their story.
Louis ("Louie") Zamperini was born a dare devil. The first few chapters of this novel tell of how his mom often couldn't find him and he was consistently doing dangerous things. As he got a little older, he started fighting (after being bullied) and his older brother Pete thought a great way to channel all of Louie's energy would be for him to run track. And thus, a track star was born. He would eventually go on to be an Olympian. He went on to enlist in the Army Air Forces in 1941. The bulk of Hillenbrand's novel discusses Louie's time in the military and of his being a prisoner of war in Japan. The things that happened to him while a prisoner of war are beyond appalling. One of the people at the Japanese prison camp known as "The Bird" was especially brutal with Louie. I was heartbroken for him with each beating he endured from The Bird.
Anyone who is the least bit interested in history or in our military would like this novel. While heartbreaking, it definitely gives a portrait of what sacrifices have been made for our country, something I think that might be taken for granted these days. This novel is not for the faint of heart, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants a better appreciation of what these men have gone through or who just like to read biographies about extraordinary people.
More info on Unbroken
Read the first chapter of Unbroken
Author bio for Laura Hillenbrand
*Disclaimer- I received a free copy of Unbroken via WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of this review. All opinions. are 100% my own.