Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A great book with a horrible title.
There are two things I dislike about this book one is the title and I will address that at the end of this review because it has spoilers. The other is in the introduction and although this might spoil things a little bit, it is seriously the opening pages of the book. (view spoiler)[The book opens in the middle of the story. It has narrative from after the plane crash in the ocean while the three survivors are on their two life rafts and describes some of their ordeal. After that the book goes back to the beginning, goes pretty much in chronological order, and eventually you get to that part again in the text (probably a little before the halfway point. There just seems to be no point to the opening except, if you need a hook that bad put it on the dust jacket or back cover. I've noticed a very similar trend with movies too though [and the movie for the book did the same thing] where they start in the middle or even close to the end then spend their whole time getting there. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway the book is an amazing story of triumph over the tribulation of war and its horrors- specifically the horror of being a prisoner of war for some nations. In fact, the book made me wonder why we as Americans were so willing to forgive and pardon Japanese atrocities, but not Nazi ones. I'm not certain on my views, but I think it is slightly racist- we expected better of white Europeans, but not of Asian races. The other theory is simply one of guilt, that despite what they did during the war, we felt guilty about using The Bomb. I, of course, could be wrong, but that part of the story really sat wrong with me. [As a side note, I harbor nothing against the Japanese people- I spent two weeks there one summer in college and the only bad part of the experience was some of the people I was with].
I remember when I first heard about the book, it was an NPR article I heard while running an errand during the summer of 2014. Zamperini had just passed away and they summarized his story and mentioned it was being turned into a movie. My wife was doing work outside when I got home and I summarized the story even more to her and half-jokingly she said, "They don't make them like that anymore." My grandfather fought in the war and it is very easy at times to idolize him and others of The Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw, put it, however, they were human and that is what is so great and so sad about his life immediately after the war. In the end there is redemption and triumph again, but there were many failures along with the successes, not to mention normal human quirks and faults. A very good and inspiring read, I finished in only one day.
And now for why I dislike the title: (view spoiler)
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