Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
This week was Veteran’s Day. While I can’t say that I spent the whole day in prayers of thanks for the veterans who have served our country, I did actually spend some time thinking about my father and grandfather and how hard it must have been to be told by the government to pack their bags and leave their family and potentially be killed. The draft is such a strange thing for my generation to contemplate.
I also thought about Louis Zamperini, because I just finished reading his biography, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. Zamperini, for those of you who haven’t already read the book or seen the movie based on the book (I have not seen the movie) was an Olympic track star turned WWII bombardier, who found himself shot down, adrift on the Pacific Ocean for longer than anyone else previously in history, and then tortured in Japanese prisoner of war camps. If it weren’t all true, it would be unbelievable, it is so horrible.
Laura Hillenbrand also wrote Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was also turned into a movie. I read Seabiscuit, and, while I appreciated the intense detail and painstaking research that went into it, it was a bit of a slog for me to get through. Maybe because I don’t much care about horseracing, but I’ve generally felt that if something is well written it doesn’t matter the genre or topic, I can be drawn in to it.
Unbroken is just as well researched. The historical detail is amazing. It is only because of this research that the story is at all believable. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but you can’t help but think when reading this that a normal person could not have survived what Zamperini did, not any one piece of it, much less all of it together. It left me riveted. My attention was completely captured and I had to finish it as quickly as I was able. My heart broke for everyone in it, my spirit sank with the capacity humans have for cruelty, and rose with the capacity humans have to rise above.
It’s a book about courage, a book about hope, a book about human dignity and faith and the power of people to be what they need to be under trying circumstances. It made me feel like Zamperini was a different breed of person that I am, a better breed of person, with more toughness and courage and mental strength. And more ability to forgive.
They don’t make ‘em like that any more. But thank God they did, and more thanks to Laura Hillenbrand for documenting this story so finely.
To read more, or to buy the book/movie on Amazon, click the link below:
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.