Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamperini's survival at sea after he was shot down in World War II in the Pacific. You may be familiar with the author's other story, Seabiscuit, written about a horse that came from an unremarkable background to win the Kentucky Derby and become a national legend. Laura Hillenbrand is the name of the lady who wrote both of these stories. I did not read Seabiscuit. I saw the movie and was moved to tears. Absolutely excellent. Unbroken, not so much. It is a horrific story of a WWII catastrophe, and true for sure. The book includes pictures. (who had a camera for this?) And yes, my heart goes out to our survivors and grieves for our lost. I live in a family with military history, all four branches of the service including my husband, son, brothers, and others. This account is not lost on me. I get it. It is a story extravagant in its scope and pretty well written. It covers Zamparini's life from childhood to his 81st birthday when he is one of the carriers of the Olympic Torch, in Japan no less in 1998. This book was published in 2010. I read it about two years ago. A friend had recommended it right after it came out. I did not get around to reading it until my son gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas in 2012. I remember, and you may as well, when this came out it had mediocre reviews from some who thought that the minute detail was too detailed for someone his age to remember so many years later and be able to recall especially with the emotional and mental trauma that had occurred. Thus, it was said the story was too good to be true. And it goes on a long time. I think it is true but I think she should have stuck to the WWII disaster that was his life during that time. That was the story. This is a biography. The bibliography alone takes up 65 pages. She did her research. And she interviewed Louis about 75 times. She spent seven years writing this book. This was obviously a labor of love for Ms. Hillenbrand. I give the narrative and the writing five stars. I give the finished product 3.5 stars. It is worth the time it will take to read it, but you may find yourself wondering is this embellished for the sake of story telling? Or, does he just have a fantastic memory and she is a fantastic writer with the raw material before her? I really don't know.
This quote is at the front of the book "What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics, Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what deepest remains?" --- Walt Whitman, "The Wound-Dresser"
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