Wednesday, March 16, 2011

UNBROKEN - Book Review

When I read Unbroken, I realized I really have nothing serious to complain about in my life.  Laura Hillenbrand's book about Louis Zamperini, a world class runner and World War II POW survivor, illustrates the resilience of the human body and mind.  This is a shining example of how individuals can overcome bad luck, physical and mental abuse, and change their lives for the better no matter the hand they are dealt.

Louis Zamperini survives crashing in a B-24 bomber over the Pacific ocean, being stranded with two other crewmen on a raft for 47 days, numerous drive-by attacks from sharks, being shot at overhead by a Japanese gunner, landing on a Japanese-owned island, taken as a prisoner of war, treated cruelly for over two years by prison guards, and if you think I've given anything away by telling you this, you are wrong.  Four hundred pages of harrowing and redeeming experiences.

Admittedly, I skimmed through some of the sections describing the cruelty of a prison guard known as "The Bird".  The nickname doesn't come from anything related to his personality or appearance.  POW's would nickname the guards unrelated names in case they were overheard talking. Clever. That little gem would have come in handy when I was in high school.

Laura Hillenbrand, the author, is a survivor herself.  Suffering severely from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Hillenbrand rarely leaves her home and conducted most of her research from her home through countless phone interviews.   Despite her debilitating illness, she has written two best-sellers, the first being Seabiscuit

Recently, I walked into my early morning (5:15 am) spin class with a friend who said, "After reading Unbroken, I really don't have any excuse not to be in this class."  Boy, no kidding.  And, yes, this book is excellent.


  1. I've been hesitating to read this book. It sounds so grim. You make it sound uplifting. Time to give it a go.

  2. Mary: I felt the same way until my friend Liz talked about it at my annual book discussion. I'm so glad I read it.