Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is a true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who grows up always in trouble and finds his strides in running. After almost graduating from USC, he joins the Army Air Force Corps during World War II and becomes a bombardier in the Pacific theatre of the war. After several successful bombing missions, Louie's plane goes down while out on a rescue mission. He and several other men on board survive the horrific crash and then spend over 40 days on a raft in the middle of Pacific Ocean while rescue planes and eventually Japanese fly overhead. Louie is then taken as an undeclared POW by the Japanese, and much of the book is spent addressing the struggles he endures in the internment camps and dealing with different officers along the way.
Laura Hillenbrand is without question a literary genius. As I was reading and came across incredible foreshadowing and nuances throughout the book, I was bowled over. She spent seven years researching for this book, and she ties together all of her interviews and reading with an invisible stitch. I honestly felt like I was sitting on Louie's shoulder as everything was happening, and at some times I wished that I wasn't. His story is one of courage, military honor, and extreme bravery. I don't understand how someone could endure so much and still have the will to survive.
And because I'm a history teacher and was a history major in college, I also appreciated learning about the Japanese atrocities and the Pacific theatre in the war. I never realized the extent of that part of the war, as Hitler's attempt for world domination and the horrific Holocaust that occurred in Europe tends to be what is taught in schools and focused on during college courses.
One last note, then I'll cut my long review to a close. I was in tears at the end of war; they weren't ladylike tears but ugly crying tears. But after the war there is still quite a bit left. That part lasted a bit longer than I thought it needed to, but it did give me a completely new and whole-hearted appreciation for military veterans who come back to normal life and are expected to function as though they haven't experienced the atrocities of war.
For so many reasons, I would heavily encourage you to read this book. It is one that will not long be forgotten and will continue to sit at the top of my list of favorite books (along with The Count of Monte Cristo).
Next up, as you saw yesterday, I'm reading Mindy Kaling's autobiography. I needed a light read that wouldn't have me in stitches throughout its pages and tears in the end.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
What is your favorite book?
What other books would you suggest couldn't be missed as I have time this summer to read?
Read my other book reviews for ideas.