Even as I was reading midway through the Unbroken book, I had realized that it was an excellent biography of Louie Zamperini. Still, in the past few days, I’ve come to realize the novel as more of a story of prolonged suffering than an actual biography.
Louie has not had a straightforward life and has gone through many struggles throughout his entire life if it was not so evident already. From childhood to adulthood, Louie started stealing at an early age and became a severe alcoholic later in life. These two events only scratch the surface of what he had to endure.
The book focuses on two main events in Louie’s life, his career as a state and Olympic runner and his time spent in World War ll. Zamperini was a terrific runner who qualified to represent the U.S. in the 1936 Olympic games whenever the Olympics held in Berlin, Germany. He took in the 5,000-meter race and had a fantastic race, but I will not spoil the outcome.
Then in World War ll, he enlisted with the United States Army Air Force and was sent to the island of Tuvalu. Until later, their bomber plane Super Man had crashed into the sea, and it was a long wait until any civilization realized they were stranded. Louie eventually became a POW of the Japanese, where he was interrogated, beaten, starved, and worked for years across different POW camps controlled by the Japanese.
Ideally, the insight into Louie’s life is one of the main reasons it makes the book a great one. Louie represents adversity. He represents other things, but that characteristic sticks out to me because of the courage and strength in challenging situations. This novel is a book of inspiration and hope that aims to help the reader overcome any struggle they have or will endure.
Laura Hillenbrand was the author of this book. She has also written the bestseller Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which I have not personally read, but after reading the Unbroken book, I may need to consider doing so.
If you have read my past reviews on the website, you’ll have a general sense that I like illustrations, which is true. Laura has included some images throughout the novel that give you a sight into what Louie has accomplished and just some novelties from the war. You can find various pictures of Louie, his family, and some photos of the POW camps. However, the images are not too graphic if you are concerned.
Laura, in terms of this book, puts a lot of time into her work. It’s not hard to indicate that she has spent countless hours with Louie listening to his stories and putting those details into writing. She has interviewed other people, mainly family members of Louie’s companions, to read about their lives and what they have accomplished after the war. Hillenbrand’s nice touch is to add this extra content instead of solely focusing on Louie.
A criticism that you can draw from reading the Unbroken book is that it focuses on the many events and people too much and that it should focus more on Louie than Laura already has. I can understand the criticism, but I did enjoy reading about the other individuals and their lives, as I’ve already spoken. Laura does jump to talking about different individuals often, so if you are not a fan of that style, you might be irritated with the book.
Hillenbrand also takes some time to talk about Japan and the role that they have served in the war. How that their culture leads to how they treated the POWs because they believe that surrender is dishonorable. Of course, this being a novel surrounded by World War ll events, it fitted that some of the events be discussed, but events that may not have been discussed in social studies classes. Of course, there were some discussions about Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which was a critical event in that war and well known from that time.
Reading these events and facts about the war was another reason I thoroughly enjoyed the book and gave it a good score. I enjoy reading about history and growing up, enjoyed listening to stories and reading about World War ll.
I recommend this book to those like me that enjoy learning more about World War ll or anyone who likes to read biographies on inspiration. This was a novel, at times, I could not put down until I did for a while and eventually came back to it to be drawn once again.
My score for the Unbroken book by Hillenbrand is 8.5/10.
I also had included this book in my “5 Recommended Books to Purchase for Christmas:” article I had written almost two months ago and still would recommend purchasing or borrowing the book.
There is a movie based upon the novel that was directed by Angelina Jolie back in 2014. I believe that Netflix is streaming this title on its platform, but here is a link to where you can rent it on YouTube if it isn’t available on your preferred streaming platform. As well, there’s a link here to Amazon where you can purchase the book or look at more reviews.
You can check out my latest article about Mark and mine’s list of the top 50 players in the NBA below or by clicking here.
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