In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
Laura Hillenbrand’s UNBROKEN is a tale of survival that spans decades detailing the life of Louie Zamperini.
From to delinquent to Olympian to serviceman to POW, Zamperini’s tale is one of struggle and triumph. While the first dozen chapters are slow and explore Zamperini’s early life, the most gripping bulk of the story focuses on the harrowing account of a bomber shot down, the terror of being adrift at sea, and the atrocities of a Japanese prison camp. Europe is the focus of the majority of WWII accounts, but Hillenbrand’s eloquent writing style and vivid descriptions focuses on the lesser-discussed Pacific theatre and the plight of the Allied POWs interned there.
Told in a straight-forward, compassionate manner, the biography of Louie Zamperini is a moving one, giving the reader a glimpse of the valor and tenacity of the greatest generation.