Monday, February 9, 2015

Julie's Review: Unbroken

Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Series: None
Publication Date: November 11, 2010
Publisher: Random House Audio
Narrator: Edward Herrmann
Length: 14 hours
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Biography
Rating: 4.75/5 
Bottom Line:  Fascinating life, dragged a bit in the telling of Louis' life 
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library  

Summary: On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

Review: If I were to rate this book on Louis' life alone it would be a 5 because holy cow! I am at a loss for words on how this man survived all that he did and I'm happy someone discovered, then shared his story widely.

Louis wasn't always a hero. In fact, growing up he was quite the troublemaker and was well known throughout Torrence, CA for his actions. It wasn't until his brother turned him onto running that Louis found himself channeling his energy into something positive. His journey to the Olympics is one of true inspiration. Then his service to his country that lasted far longer than he probably ever thought.

It is pretty amazing how Louis and 2 of his airmen survived their time at sea. While I do feel that what he went through was true and harrowing, I do feel that it was spun a bit for better reading. I'm not sure that if I would have read the book instead of listening to it because that part of the book seemed to take up most of the book.

It is Louis' return and struggles after the war that interested me. What he went through after the war wasn't different than others but the fact that he was able to pull himself out of it. I loved how is family never lost faith and hope that he was alive.

The narration of this story by Mr. Herrmann was pitch perfect. I can't see anyone else narrating Louis' story. For me, he will always be the voice of Louis in my head. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is a true life story about one average man who's life ended up being extraordinary.



Michelle S February 9, 2015 at 12:26 PM  

I'm going to have to download this one now, won't I?

Techeditor ,  February 9, 2015 at 1:21 PM  

I read this, too, and thought more highly of it than you do. First of all, Louis was never just an average person. He was extraordinary from the time, at least, that he was a teenager.

I read a lot. But usually I read only one or two books a year that are extraordinary. This book is certainly one of those.

Beth Hoffman February 9, 2015 at 1:54 PM  

I've had this book on my list for a long time, and your review has reminded me to move it up closer to the top.

Julie February 10, 2015 at 9:49 AM  

It is a harrowing and interesting story. I'm glad I listened to it. I think you'd both enjoy it Beth & Michelle.

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