THE UNBROKEN, A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, By Laura Hillenbrand
We do not read many non-fiction books in our reading group and it was interesting that we found this World War II true account so absorbing, perhaps because we were not over-acquainted with the war in the Pacific.
Whilst there were no highest ranking reviews, only one low score was recorded and most of the group rated “Unbroken” as 3 or 4 out of 5.
“Every day more than 700 veterans of World War II die, and with each one goes a story, or dozens of them. Laura Hillenbrand reached Louis Zamperini just in the nick of time — he was in his mid-80s when she found him, - and it’s an excellent thing, for his is surely one of the most extraordinary war stories of all.
In late May 1943, the B-24 carrying the 26-year-old Zamperini went down over the Pacific. For nearly seven weeks — longer, Hillenbrand believes, than any other such instance in recorded history — Zamperini and his pilot managed to survive on a fragile raft. They travelled 2,000 miles, only to land in a series of Japanese prison camps, where, for the next two years, Zamperini underwent a whole new set of tortures. His is one of the most spectacular odysseys of this or any other war, and “odyssey” is the right word, for with its tempests and furies and monsters, many of them human,
That story encompasses an aspect of the American experience during World War II — the cruelty of the Japanese — that, in an era of Toyotas and Sonys and Hideki Matsui, has been almost entirely forgotten. (Forgotten in the United States, that is: Japanese sensitivities on the subject remain sufficiently high that Hillenbrand refuses to identify her translators there.) It’s also yet another testament to the courage and ingenuity of America’s Greatest Generation, along with its wonderful, irrepressible American-style irreverence: just hearing the nicknames — many unprintable here — that the P.O.W.’s bestowed on their guards makes you fall in love with these soldiers.”
(quote from New York Times review)