Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kelly's Review: UNBROKEN

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

By Laura Hillenbrand

Published by: Random House Publishing Group,

First Printing: November, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6416-8

ISBN: 978-0-679-60375-7 (ebook)


Barnes and Noble


Concept: “On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperinin would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hoe, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.”

Review: One of my favorite books of all time is Seabiscuit by this same author. It was brilliantly written in my opinion, offering simple sentences of fact. No flowery embellishments of emotion. Just fact. I wasn’t so much into horse racing, but I was very much into that book. This book, Unbroken, reaches out and does the same. I am not a World War II buff and hearing stories of survival are not a thing for me. AT ALL. Hey, I’m a paranormal romance girl. But the reviews on this book, coupled with how much I loved Seabiscuit, made me run out and buy this book. I’ve had it since January or February and I hadn’t picked it up until recently. Am I ever glad I did.

Told again in those simple factual sentences, this book reaches out and grabs you and sucks you in FAST. You learn about Mr. Zamperini, his boyhood and his family. You learn about his love of running track. He ran at the Berlin Olympics and caught Hitler’s notice. From there you learn about his life in the airforce during the war and you learn about things going on around him at the time. And you are never bored. Never ever.

Hearing about Louis and his struggles on the raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for days and days and weeks and weeks without food and water, the trials that he went through, and then to finally spot land only to have it be enemy Japanese territory! Louis is blessed while being cursed. The things the POWs went through in those camps is nothing less than horrendous and shameful. To come out with the attitude that Louis and others did is a remarkable story as the title says.

Now I’m going to render an true opinion here. Politically charged even. My father was a policeman during the war in Santa Monica, California. I remember him telling me stories how sometimes, during times of black outs, Japanese people would light their homes on fire in case Japanese planes were flying over, they would know where to bomb. Because of action such as those, we (the United States) rounded up Japanese Americans and sent them to concentration camps for no reason other than they were Japanese. On the west coast, the famous Japanese Concentration Camp, Manzanar, was built next to land that was owned by my grandparents. The Japanese called it “God forsaken” country. My grandparents called it their ranch and loved it. Viewing the country today, I would kill to live there. It’s beautiful land. The United States recently paid compensation to the Japanese that were interred there. After reading what Louie went through at THEIR concentration camp, I can’t believe that our government was so generous. It makes me angry. I know that Japanese people are horrified to by what happened at their own hands, but it still doesn’t seem enough. This book made me remember and I don’t know if I’ll ever forget again.

Mr. Zamperini was able to forgive all his captors, including one particularly sadistic war criminal. I should be able to forgive as well. There is no doubt though that Mr. Zamperini is a hero and an inspirational human being. This is book that really makes you read, learn and think. My hat is off, once again, to Ms. Hillenbrand and her writing. This is an excellent book and one well worth the read.

What I liked: I have always enjoyed Ms. Hillenbrand’s writing style of fact. It’s amazing how much one can say when repeating only the facts. I appreciate the history. I feel like I’ve read something that is truly worthwhile.

What I disliked: The angry feelings that I’m feeling now for what happened. I know I’ll let go but I’m very emotional about it. Another sign of excellent writing right?

My rating: 5 major big feathers

By: Kelly for Book Lover's Hideaway


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