(Review) Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks.
Genre: Nonfiction, World War II, Japan, History, Biography.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.
Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini. Zamperini was born in 1917, in New York, to Italian immigrant parents. In early childhood, he and his family moved to California. Zamperini shares the story of his life, from his rebellious childhood in Torrence, California, to the Berlin Olympics, to the beginning of World War II and his enlistment in the Army Air Corp, and peaks with his capture and survival by the Japanese in the Pacific. His story portrays the horrific conditions of being a prisoner of war. When the war ended, the affects of war and suffering continued to haunt Zamperini. The conclusion of the story shows his "redemption."
I've not seen the film, I'd been holding off till I'd read the book. I've learned books hold the full story, whereas a film is an adaption.
Three points about Zamperini's life.
1. His survival skills began before the war and capture by the Japanese. As a youth, he was defiant and rebellious. He made choices that could have ended in jail. Instead, he began running and training for the Olympics. I believe it is rare for a person to turn them self around on their own. This required deep strength and determination. Later, these traits marked his ability to survive.
2. PTSD began to be examined and treated in the later part of the 20th century. During World War I and II it was called shell shock. There were no support groups, books, or counselors available to help these men and women who suffered from PTSD. After the Vietnam War, programs to help them began to be developed. Through Zamperini's life, I was shown his journey through PTSD.
3. The word "redemption" is used in the title. "Redemption" means "the act or an instance of redeeming; the process of being redeemed, man's deliverance from sin and damnation." Oxford Pocket American Dictionary, page 668.
In the late 1940s, Zamperini heard the Gospel message through a Billy Graham crusade. His redemption was made possible only through belief and a changed life in Jesus Christ. Zamperini's changed life was a radical dramatic change and it became his testimony. The horrors and suffering of the war. The evil actions that his persecutors bore on him. All of this was laid at the cross.