Louis Zamperini grew up a tough kid, always in trouble, until he found his life's passion: running. He ran himself straight to the Olympics before joining the Air Force in World War II. This is where the book truly begins, with his odyssey as a soldier, a captive, and a survivor. Zamperini's story is so amazing, so inspiring and heartbreaking, it is almost hard to believe. But believe I did. And Zamerpini stole my heart with his steel-like grip on life, even when his existence was hanging by a thread in a life raft and his dignity was literally being stomped underfoot in the pigsty.
Unbroken is the kind of book you want to talk to other people about. As hard as it was to listen to sometimes, I always needed to know how Louis was going to make out. But Hillenbrand also does such a great job at putting Louis in context, setting the stage for me as a reader so that I can sort his existence into the wider story of the war and of the culture at the time. A solid narration that kept the attention of a girl who really isn't a fan of biographies, particularly not militarily-focused ones.
His is a story of courage and resourcefulness, brutality, heartbreak and almost miraculous tiny mercies. Parts of Unbroken nearly ripped my heart out with their horrific violence and human suffering. It's so hard to believe that we do things like this to each other, it makes me want to just shake someone and scream. I had tears on more than one occasion, while listening to this book, both from sorrow and, amazingly, from joy. Joy for Louis and what happens to his soul so that he is finally able to find peace. Because, find peace he does, and I would have never imagined that a story like his could have a happy ending.