Thursday, August 18, 2011

Unbroken: A World War Two Story of Survival, Resiliance, and Redemption

Title: Unbroken
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Rating: Two Stars OR 5 Starts

I just finished this book today, and I am not sure whether to rate it as a 2 or a 5.

This book recites the harrowing details of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner turned POW survivor. It depicts his life from birth until his now 90's- including shaking the hand of Adolf Hitler at the 1936 games in Berlin, his divine survival from 47 days of drifting in the Pacific Ocean on a raft, and turning to Christ to learn how to forgive his tormentors after surviving a Japanese POW camp.

Laura Hillenbrand is brilliant in her story-telling. I felt like I grew up with Zamperini as a close friend, and later that I was in Japan experiencing the torture that befell the POW's. That was the greatness and the difficulty of this novel.

Louis' story must be read. His story must live on forever- for us to remember not only all that we owe to so many men and women who lost their lives not only in WWII but in all other wars that have been fought, but also to remember the horrendous viciousness that occurs during war so that we can avoid it in the future. That is why it deserves a 5-star rating: a brilliantly told true story of a great war hero that should never be forgotten.

However, this is an incredibly difficult read. It embodies everything I dislike about WWII literature: I hate reading that there are people on this earth who are so cruel as to enjoy the severe suffering of others. In WWII, the Japanese were satanic in their punishments to their captives, and this book does not hold back in the retelling of the torture. The images of what they inflicted on other human beings makes me literally ill- and it was hard to read. Based on the subject matter and the perfect imagery that Hillenbrand created of this most despicable behavior, I want to rate it a 2- meaning, this is an incredibly hard read.

I really do believe every American should read this novel- it should be required reading in High School. But, I will never read it again. And if a movie comes out, I will skip that as well.

Has this review confused you enough?


Lula O said...

Yeah. It was hard to read about that stuff. It always is. I don't want to be retraumatized over and over again, yet I understand that these awful times in history can't be buried either. They force me to feel something, however unpleasant, and then hopefully I learn something as well. I find it compelling that even though these occurances mortify me to the point of nausea sometimes, someone somewhere actually lived it, and most importantly survived it. That's the take home message for me, and why I read books like The Book Thief, Maus, The Hiding Place, and this one. That against all odds, people often survive this sometimes awful, crappy, harder than rocks world, and if put in the same position, maybe I could survive too.

Tanja said...

So I have been having a hard time viewing the blog. I have to highlight where the words should be so I can see them. Weird
Anyways, I enjoyed this book. I agree that some of it was hard to get through and how could you not hate the "bird", but like Lula said, it is amazing that others live through these things and manage to come out good.
Louie's story was incredible and I liked that it ended with hope.

Also, I learned so stinking much from this book.

Yüz Germe said...

Thanks for writing in such an encouraging post. I had a glimpse of it and couldn’t stop reading till I finished. I have already bookmarked you.
Yüz Germe

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