Monday, May 23, 2011

I Recommend...

... Unbroken. A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. If you have an ancestor who served in the Army Air Corps in World War II; who served in any branch of the military in World War II; or who was a POW in Japan during World War II you may really appreciate reading it. It is an exceptional, and exceptionally written, book.

As I read, I began to love Louis Zamperini despite his incorrigible and unruly youthful behavior. I cheered him on as he ran out of unruliness and into the 1936 Olympics. I read with interest as he became a bombardier in the Army Air Force during World War II, and then with concern as he and two other soldiers were the only survivors of their downed bomber in the Pacific Ocean. It is an amazing author who can hold a reader's interesting through 50 pages when describing 40 days stranded on the ocean in two rafts. Not only did her words hold my interest: I could hardly put the book down. The events of Louie's life and Hillenbrand's telling of them, in combination, make the book so compelling and readable. Because Hillenbrand did such in depth interviews with so many people, I began to understand the experiences of the soldiers from their perspective instead of just as an observer.

I won't tell the rest of Louie's story, but leave it for you to discover yourself. While I would not wish to have had an ancestor - or anyone else, for that matter - live through the life Louie and so many other soldiers lived, I am amazed at them, admire them, and thank those World War II soldiers.

With Laura Hillenbrand I say, "...I wish to remember the millions of Allied servicemen and prisoners of war who lived the story of the Second World War. Many of these men never came home; many others returned bearing emotional and physical scars that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. I come away from [reading] this book with the deepest appreciation for what these men endured, and what they sacrificed, for the good of humanity."

If you read it, I hope you appreciate it.

2 comments:

  1. My sister read this book and also said it was great. She is getting it for my dad for Father's Day. When he is finished, I'm reading it. I can't wait! I wonder if she wrote most of this book in bed, like she did for Seabiscuit (since she has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)?

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  2. I didn't find any information about how debilitated she was while she wrote this book but I found an excellent article she wrote a few years ago for the New Yorker describing her symptoms. It's at http://www.cfids-cab.org/MESA/Hillenbrand.html. Since CFS doesn't seem to be something curable, she probably was in bed most of the time for Unbroken, too. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, Jill.

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