Unbroken PDF by Laura Hillenbrand
Click Here to Download the Book On an afternoon in May of 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber plunged into the Pacific Ocean and vanished, leaving only a trail of debris and an oil slick, fuel, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face materialized. It was the face of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was straining to reach a life boat and towing himself aboard. So began one of the more extraordinary journeys of World War Two. In her long-anticipated new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same deep and expressive narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Recounting a memorable tale of one man’s trip into extremity, Unbroken is a tribute to the irrepressibility of the mind, body, and spirit.
Reviews This is an incredible narrative of the life of Louis Zamperini who was an Olympian mile runner until WW II when he joined the Army Air Force, flying as a bombardier in B24s in the Pacific Theater of War. His plane went down on what should have been a routine search mission and only he and two other crew members survived. After drifting westward in shark infested waters toward Japanese occupied Marshall Islands they are captured. By then only two remained, the third crewman dying on the ocean. Their time in captivity and enslavement is related in detail. The cruelty of the Japanese guards is legendary. Amazingly, despite the near starvation and brutality, they survive the war and are eventually returned home. Louis suffered terrible emotional scars from the ordeal and through the alcoholic fog of his ruined marriage he becomes consumed with returning to Japan and murdering his principal tormentor. He eventually gets released from his obsession through a chance encounter with the evangelist Billy Graham and, given a new mission in life, he achieves some reconciliation and healing. Given the tremendous hardship that all three surviving crew members endured and the fact that one of three became withdrawn and died while the remaining two carried on, reminded me of the impetus behind the Outward Bound schools. These were started by a British seaman who noticed that when ships crews were thrown into the N. Atlantic as their ship went down, some succumbed very quickly and others stayed alive until help arrived. He became convinced that it wasn’t that some were necessarily physically stronger than others as the reason they survived, but rather that they knew they could face adversity and carry on. Previous experience had taught them that they were capable of much more than they could previously fathom. Based on this, he developed a type of endurance school to teach seamen that lesson, before they had to put it to use.
As someone who rarely reads any type of history novels, especially relating to a world war, I was a little reluctant to read this when we chose this for book club. Once I started it, I truly hated putting it down. Laura Hillenbrand has a way of making history come to life. Sometimes authors put so much information, details and
facts in their writing that it makes it hard to feel the story and get to know the characters, but that is not the case here. This could be a history class in and of itself, and would keep students interested and keep them learning! This story is riveting, exciting, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching and uplifting all at the same time. This story of one man, to learn about his life, his motivations and thought-processes, to understand how he made it through all he did in the war and after, is remarkable. No one truly knows what they can handle in their lives, and what he survives is almost unbearable to read at times, which is what makes this story so important. I highly recommend this, even if you're not typically a fan of historical novels.
I had to read this for a book club that I moderate. Even though I choose the books for the group I always wait until the last minute to read the books on the list because if feels like homework. Unbroken is an amazing story of the will to survive and the strength of the human spirit. The main focus is on Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who joined the air corps in WWII. His plane was shot down in the middle of the ocean, what happens next is almost unbelievable. Louis and his pilot manage to survive 47 days on a raft, drifting nearly 2000 miles, only to be "rescued" by the Japanese and sent to various POW camps. The average POW lost about 60 pounds in the POW camps and were mentally and physically abused. The inhumane treatment was horrific yet somehow Louis and thousands of others survived. Yes the story is horrific, but for me it brought to light a part of WWII I didn't know much about. So much is told about the treatment of the Jews in Germany but I never thought about the treatment of the POW's in Japan. Louis is a character and a forceful personality. Hillenbrand does a masterful job of describing his upbringing in a way that initially seems pointless but as the story progresses makes complete sense. She also manages to tell a story that is incredibly intense and disturbing in a way that holds your attention to the very last page. I read this book in one day and once it grabbed a hold of me I didn't want to put it down.
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