Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

29 Jan

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionMy rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Louie Zamperini’s life is nearly unbelievable!  The WWII backdrop is fascinating.  I believe everyone should read this to get a real sense of America and Americans during WWII. 

This was the first non-fiction book I picked up since Devil in the White City.  If you recall my review of Devil, you’ll remember that I really struggled with the tediousness of the historical detail.   I was a bit nervous that this book would be the same way in honestly in some ways it was.  But as I always say, life is about expectations, right?  Since I was prepared to have to digest a bit of history with my story, it was much less painful for me to do so.

This book is about Louis Zamperini, Olympic gold medalist turned Air Force enlisted turned lost at sea turned POW turned religious nut turned old guy.  It’s really unbelievable the twist and turns of this guy’s story. 

I liked this book for two reasons.  First, Louis Zamperini’s story really is fascinating as is the overall time period and culture during World War II.  Secondly, I learned more about WWII  from this book than I have from any other source in my entire life.  I will spare you the details of my conversation about this with my husband, but the gist of it is that I am positive I was never taught WWII history in school, I never watch the history channel, and I don’t like war movies.  So my opinion is that I am lucky I knew ANYTHING about WWII.

Learning about WWII was not only just a good thing to have done, but it has a special place in my heart.  My grandfather was a machine gunner in Italy during World War II.  Not only did he survive, but he went on to raise a wonderful family and is still very much alive at 87!  The wonderful bonus is that he is a master storyteller who loves to talk about his experiences in the war.  He does this, ironically, in a completely light and rated G kind of way by focusing on the cooperation, camaraderie, and deep relationships he built with the men he shared this surreal experience with. 

This book makes an excellent Book Club read.  It is chock full of people and situations to discuss.

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