There are many books that don’t deserve all of the praise and acclaim poured out on them by critics. Unbroken is not one of those books. There is a reason it has gone over a hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Laura Hillenbrand has written another masterpiece, after her thrilling Seabiscuit.
Unbroken follows the life of Louie Zamperini, a one-time Olympian who enlists when WWII hits and ends his dreams of more Olympics. Zamperini become a bombardier on the new B24 bomber, and is involved in a number of sucessful missions. He and his crew are finally downed when they are out looking for another missing plane.
Zamperini goes through ordeal after ordeal, and is held as a Japanese POW and viciously beaten and starved. Yet through it all, he maintains his humanity and spirit somehow. He lives through and returns home after the war. However, the battle is not over for him. This is when he must face all the emotional trauma of what has happened to him.
The story is hard to read at times, and not because of the writing, which is clear and precise. The descriptions of everything that Zamperini saw and experienced are often horrific. However, his story doesn’t end with those experiences. He goes on to change the lives of many others.
Unbroken is about the resiliency of the human spirit, and about the power of forgiveness and mercy. If you have not yet read this book, I highly recommend it.