Only two of his crew mates survived the crash, and they had to battle hunger and dehydration, and fight off sharks while in that tiny raft. And then he was picked up by the Japanese and became a prisoner of war. For two years, he was tortured and starved and abused and enslaved.
This story is beyond depressing, you guys. And so, the book gathered dust on my shelf, my original bookmark still in the pages. I decided to finally pick it up again after seeing the movie which is also grim. Since I'm years late to this discussion, all I can say is that the writing and reporting are excellent, and this truly is an incredible story of resilience, survival and forgiveness. I especially liked that Hillenbrand didn't end the story when Zamperini was released from the POW camp; instead, she continued to follow what happened to the men, and even to the Japanese prison guards, some of whom were prosecuted as war criminals.
Zamperini ended up living a long and full life, and his story is inspiring. Highly recommended for fans of history and survival stories. Hillenbrand is a remarkable writer, and whenever her next book comes out, I'll immediately order that, too. I just hope it's a more joyful subject.
Favorite Quotes "From earliest childhood, Louie had regarded every limitation placed on him as a challenge to his wits, his resourcefulness, and his determination to rebel. The result had been a mutinous youth. As maddening as his exploits had been for his parents and his town, Louie's success in carrying them off had given him the conviction that he could think his way around any boundary. Now, as he was cast into extremity, despair and death became the focus of his defiance. The same attributes that made him the boy terror of Torrence were keeping him alive in the greatest struggle of his life.
This is likely one of the reasons why Japanese soldiers in World War II debased their prisoners with such zeal, seeking to take from them that which was most painful and destructive to lose. On Kwajalein, Louie and Phil learned a dark truth known to the doomed in Hitler's death campus, the slaves of the American South, and a hundred other generations of betrayed people.
Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it. The loss of it can carry a man off as surely as thirst, hunger, exposure, and asphyxiation, and with greater cruelty. In places like Kwajalein, degradation could be as lethal as a bullet. View all 11 comments. Sep 25, Petal X rated it it was amazing Shelves: reviewed , biography-true-story.
Part of my reading of war books and memoirs, this one enlightened to me as to why the Japanese were so reviled by Americans. Fit partners for Hitler indeed. View all 20 comments. Shelves: nonfiction , history , world-war Amazing story, and well told - kept me up late at night! Louie Zamperini truly went through hell and came back - and it's inspiring to read a story of such willpower and determination.
It was also interesting to me to learn more about Japan and their role in the war. One big takeaway was just how cheap human life is in war. It was pretty eye opening to read the stats about how they pretty much massacred hundreds of thousands of POW's. And of couse, as the story details, they also did not follow Geneva Conventions and pretty much treated POW's as slaves.
One of my favorite points the author made is best illustrated by this quote about Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. This is a fundamental truth of humanity that the author really drew out well - if you take a persons dignity away you take everything away.
I loved all the stories of POW's being defiant; stealing food, supplies, playing jokes, etc. The little bits of defiance were enough to let them take back their dignity, and I think thats what makes them so compelling; because while we haven't all been POW's, we can relate to that basic need. View all 4 comments. All the cheesy, tired words people use to review books seem to apply to this book: remarkable, intense, striking, exceptional.
I hate to use them, but all of them are relevant in regard to this work. I even could use that silly phrase, "I couldn't put it down. I looked forward to picking it up again and continuing on with the story of prisoner of war Louis Zamperini. Hillenbrand is also the author of S All the cheesy, tired words people use to review books seem to apply to this book: remarkable, intense, striking, exceptional. I had no doubts she could write well, as Seabiscuit is one of my favorite reads, ever. Yet, a feel-good story about a horse is a different animal than a story of the brutal realities of a prisoner of war.
Could she write about the horrors of war without doing a disservice to the harsh truths of battle? The answer is yes. She clearly spent a great deal of time researching his life, the lives of the people he fought with and against , the battles he fought, the equipment they used. The book is intelligent and she writes with such depth. While some books on war are understandably painful to read, her talent as a writer makes this book a bit more palatable.
I do not mean to imply that she demeans or degrades what he endures, she does not, but she seems to know exactly when the reader needs to back away from the horror. With great mastery she will take the reader from the horrors of POW camp to the heartache of the families at home. While I was skeptical, I had to give the book a shot. For starters, I love the period of time she writes about. The clincher for me is that Louie was an Olympian, a runner. While my running days are long gone and certainly never reached the heights Louie did there's a bond of sorts there.
We meet Louis as a kid growing up in Torrance, California. He's a bit mischievous and well onto his way of becoming a teenaged hoodlum and then a good for nothing adult. He has an epiphany of sorts and gets on the straight and narrow. Guided by his brother, he begins running for his high school track team. While it's not easy at first, after some training, Louis discovers he has some speed. He continues his running career at USC, well on his way to that impossible, elsusive four minute mile and qualifies to run in the Olympics in Berlin.
I found myself swept away, absolutely enthralled by the thrill of his races, his trip across the Atlantic, his meeting with Hitler. Shortly after his return, the war reaches a fever pitch and Louie signs up to serve. He ends up in the United States Air Force as a bombardier.
So many incredible stories of close calls of near crashes or of running out of fuel over the shark infested Pacific. Eventually, Louie's luck runs out and during a rescue mission in an ill-equipped plane, they crash into the ocean. He survives with a few other men on rafts for 47 days.
They fight hunger, thirst, aggressive sharks; they dodge bullets from Japanese pilots. Rescue comes in the form of the Japanese Navy. So begins a long stay in and out of POW camps. He somehow survives unspeakable tortures and after years in captivity, he is free. While the war may have ended for the word, it continues to rage in Louie's psyche. Freed from his cell, his mind becomes his new tormentor, disturbing his thoughts and sleep with hellish flashbacks and dreams.
He meets a woman, falls in love and gets married, yet the war haunts him and a cloud of misery hangs over his marriage. He resolves to return to Japan, find "The Bird," the tyrant who tortured him, and kill him. At this stage in the story, he's ugly and unlikable though the reader understands why. Drinking too much, he becomes abusive. His wife talks him into going to see Billy Graham speak. He walks out one night. Another night he goes and is converted to Christian life.
Normally, the cynic in me would moan and groan, or maybe put the book aside for fear of it getting preachy Louie finds peace and forgiveness. He no longer is haunted by bad dreams or the desire to find and kill his Japanese tormentor. Religion frees him from hate and he becomes a model husband, father and citizen. You won't regret it. Jan 05, Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , non-fiction , historical. I would love to just breeze through it but there is so much information. I'm only on page 28 but I'm listening to an audio book at the same time.
I'm almost don't with that. Anyway, this book is a must read. Very well written! I want to absorb everything. My Father, Uncle and Father in law went through this. I'm sad because of the conditions they had to deal with but also proud beyond words. This is a must read book" I finished "I'm loving this book. This is a must read book" I finished reading this book last night. It was one of the most memorable books I have read in some time. I didn't care much for History in school, but I was drawn to this one.
It amazes me what our soldiers went through and how much we have to be proud of. I would give this more stars if I could. I highly recommend this book. Nov 15, David Baldacci rated it it was amazing. A true tale of human resilience so unbelievable that you would think it was a novel. But Louis Zamperini did it and Hillenbrand chronicles that harrowing journey in a way only she can. This book deserves the best review I could give it. It hit me hard. It will be awhile. Sep 26, Amy S rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.
Probably the best book I have read this year. It seemed awfully big and I worried it would be too slow and too depressing. How glad I am that it was chosen! I am going to buy a permanent copy to keep and maybe one for my Dad for Christmas. The book follows the life of Louis Zamperini, a troubled youth turned Olympic runner. He is preparing for the next Olympic games when Pea Powerful. He is preparing for the next Olympic games when Pearl Harbor arrives and the country is thrown into war. Louie becomes a reluctant bombardier on a B Liberator. It follows his time as an active soldier, his unfortunate crash, dealing with sharks for weeks on end and no food or water, a horrifying internment in a Japanese POW camp, and his journey home seeking healing and redemption.
I am leaving out spoiler after spoiler, giving as little information as possible so as not to ruin anything. But what a life! And what a writer Laura Hillenbrand is. Here is a woman who struggles with severe chronic fatigue and yet was able to slowly produce this incredible work. I have read much non-fiction, I have read WW2 books, Holocaust books, etc etc, but never have I felt so sucked into someone's life. I felt what Louie felt. As his plane is going down over the Pacific and he and his crewmates stare at each other in horror, I truly felt that horror.
I caught myself breathing fast with my heart banging against my chest. Again and again I felt like I was there, living it with them. I will also say that Hillenbrand strikes such an important balance--she lays out the gravity of the situation without tipping into graphic unnecessary shock value. There were many times I could hardly stop turning the pages. Amazing that it is a true story. The ending of the book deals so much with forgiveness and redemption.
Louis has an understandably difficult time rejoining society at the close of the war. I could not help but compare my own Grandfather, who saw such terrible things in the Pacific theater and turned to alcohol to try to deal with the pain once he came home. I closed the book inspired, hopeful, and touched by his life and choices.
I encourage anyone to read this important story. View all 6 comments. Too long ; needs better editing. For example, the time spent on the raft is just too long and drawn out.
I have a very hard time believing some of the events: view spoiler [the numerous Japanese bullets missed Allan Phillips and Max on the raft and fixing the bullet holes in the raft while they remained in it is implausible! The crews on the airplanes were given fleece clothing when they left for their first air assignment. Did there Too long ; needs better editing. Did there really exist fleece clothing back in the forties?! OK, the old woolen fleece garments is what is being referred to. I just cannot believe many statements made in this book! Neither does the religious message professed in this book work for me.
That Louis falls under the spell of Billy Graham put me off.
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And my husband concurs; he too has read both books. Obviously my husband and I are in the minority, since so many others have loved this book! An author should question what she is being told before writing a biography. View all 70 comments. Apr 16, Erin rated it did not like it. I enjoyed the beginning of the book somewhat, learning about the main character's struggles to become an Olympic runner. It quickly transitioned into an account of his experiences at war.http://mekkadonmusic.com/hero-dad-mills-boon-love-inspired.php
'Unbroken': Where's the rest of Louis Zamperini's story?
Perhaps the third-person narrative was too distant for me? I felt as though I was just reading a series of facts. Also, I don't have much interest in war, combat, or airplanes; when I picked up 'Unbroken' I was depending on my love I enjoyed the beginning of the book somewhat, learning about the main character's struggles to become an Olympic runner. Also, I don't have much interest in war, combat, or airplanes; when I picked up 'Unbroken' I was depending on my love for the characters to be enough of a gripper to keep me engaged, and that just didn't happen.
Reading it became more of a chore than an escape, so ultimately I only made it through about a quarter of the book. I wonder if I just needed to hang on a bit longer to fall in love with this book the way that so many others have View all 31 comments. Nov 02, Paula Kalin rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography , read-in , award-winner , audio-book , favorite-authors , non-fiction , history , book-club , military-war. What a harrowing tale of survival during WW2.
From the Olympics to being stranded at sea to a prisoner of war in Japan. A terrific story. Don't miss. Shelves: biography , non-fiction , war , history , all-time-favorites. Louis Silvie "Louie" Zamperini Louie as a kid was a troublemaker. He was vivacious and naughty and always managed to get some mischief done. He either caused trouble or trouble followed him around wherever he went. His older brother, Pete, in order to counteract Louie's stealing activities, got him involved with the school's sport-team. Pete made Louie run and thus running became Louie's passion.
He would never stop running until many years later. In his late teens he began running harder Louis Silvie "Louie" Zamperini Louie as a kid was a troublemaker. In his late teens he began running harder and harder, pushing himself to his breaking limits. He broke many records, including some on a national level. So, he decided to try out for the Olympic Games of He made into the US team but only managed to finish eighth.
He didn't let himself get dragged down but instead he started getting ready for the next Olympic Games. World War II put a stop to all of his plans for winning the Olympics. He enlisted in the United States Air Forces and earned a commission as a second lieutenant. He became a bombardier. Louie was as safe as one can be during war time until one day he was not.
For 47 days they were adrift in the ocean, during those days the three survivors became two. At last, they reached land but they were immediately apprehended by the Japanese Navy and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp. Louie was held in captivity until the end of the war. He was beaten on a daily basis, he became emaciated and survived such hardship that no one could ever imagine. During this time he met his worst nightmare, named Mutsihiro Watanabe, or else 'the Bird' as they all called him.
Watanabe was a cold, vicious man who found pleasure upon inflicting pain on the prisoners. Especially Louie who he had taken a very special interest into. He tried to break, tried to bring Louie to his knees, but Louie was unbroken. He would only fall down to come up again. His obstinacy had once again proved to be his best trait. August the war is offially over and Louie returns home where his family welcomes him back. Louie is not okay. He is haunted, by memories so horrid he wishes he'd forget. They fell madly in love. They got married in just a few months. She soon found out that the man she had married was deeply troubled, haunted by memories who brought him nightmares every night.
I won't say more.
Unbroken: Angelina Jolie war film accused of being ‘racist’ and ‘anti-Japanese’ | The Independent
Not because I cannot go on for hours but because I don't want to tell you everything. I want you to buy this book and read this yourself because it's really worth your time, even if you don't have plenty of it. This book is the kind that changes your perspective towards several ideas that you have in your head.
It sheds light upon a dark time, on a lesser known side of the war. This novel is a story of passion, courage, bravery. As its title points out very rightly so, it's a story of resilience, not only because Louie survived the slavery but because he also managed to survive the aftermath of war that had left a mark on his soul which he managed to get rid of and live happily until his 97th year. View all 14 comments.
Jun 25, Dem rated it really liked it Shelves: war. This is a inspiring and educational read. This is a story of five parts and I really enjoyed the first three parts. Jolie's wild child days are long gone, but it's tempting to seek out the glimmers of the unpredictable woman who blew into Girl, Interrupted like a tornado and who wore once-husband Billy Bob Thornton's blood in a vial around her neck in the aspiring icon she's become. In In the Land of Blood and Honey , her flawed but interesting first scripted film, there were hints of her former self in the way she allowed the intensely fraught relationship between a Serbian soldier and the Bosniak prisoner he dated before the war to be sexy as well as imbalanced and increasingly disturbing.
In Unbroken , the frisson of the unexpected comes courtesy of Miyavi, the Japanese glam rock star who, in his acting debut, plays Mutsuhiro Watanabe nicknamed "The Bird" , the prison camp commander who takes a special interest in Louis. Strikingly androgynous and erratically sadistic, The Bird tells Louis he sees him as a friend — "Will you congratulate me? But friendship with The Bird is no blessing, as Louis is singled out for unique humiliations and punishments, some involving the participation of his fellow captives. Like the rest of the film, these sequences feel like a nod to another better movie, but at least in this case, it's an edgier one: the WWII drama Merry Christmas, Mr.
Lawrence , in which a POW camp captain, played by Ryuichi Sakamoto, develops a fixation on a dashing, rebellious prisoner, played by David Bowie. Unbroken tamps down the homoeroticism, but between the flickers that remain and the territory explored in In the Land of Blood and Honey , there's evidence that the movie Jolie should be directing is something like a remake of The Night Porter rather than these self-serious war sagas.
It'll never happen, but here's hoping anyway.
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After all, the world needs a daring and distinctively female exploration of desire so much more than it needs another gleaming, hollow prestige picture, especially one that ducks all its more human drama. Share On facebook Share On facebook Share. Share On vk Share On vk Share.
As opposed to the boring torture—how about more of his home life or his search for Bird after the war? I want Jolie to do well—she has an exemplary family and solid career as an actress—but, with the negligible first directing effort, In the Land of Blood and Honey, she has yet to achieve as a director. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!
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After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he's caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. Director: Angelina Jolie. From metacritic. In Memoriam IMDb Picks: December. CinemaCon: Top 10 Movies. Best films Movies I want to watch. Share this Rating Title: Unbroken 7. Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin.
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