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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Narrative of a Great Hero
Laura Hillenbrand will absolutely WOW the reader. This is a real page turner of a well researched true story. It reads like the finest of novels and it really makes you stop and think...this really happened. This is the first book by Laura that I have read and I will now look up Secretariat. Keep writing Laura, you are one fine writer. Other than the publisher's notes I...
Published on Dec 3 2010 by jacksprat

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heroic, Violent and Commemorative
The lifetime of Zamperini was scarred with challenge from his youth until his redemption through the influence of a Christian Church. The story is one of overcoming these challenges as a renegade, a prisoner of war, an alcoholic and eventually a leader.
It is remarkable but the violence and terror as a POw is a difficult read. I would recommend this book to those...
Published 13 months ago by Norma Bandler


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Narrative of a Great Hero, Dec 3 2010
By 
jacksprat "read more guy" (Kingston ON, Can) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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Laura Hillenbrand will absolutely WOW the reader. This is a real page turner of a well researched true story. It reads like the finest of novels and it really makes you stop and think...this really happened. This is the first book by Laura that I have read and I will now look up Secretariat. Keep writing Laura, you are one fine writer. Other than the publisher's notes I will not give the story away other than to say read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Book, July 28 2011
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Absolutely incredible book. Laura Hillenbrand is an amazing writer. She makes you feel as if you were right there experiencing everything the main character, Louie, went through. The book should be mandatory reading for all school age kids from grade 6 and up and all adults too. We often whine about stuff which is insignificant when you read this book. What Louie and all the men and women who went through WWII went through was insane. It's so incredible how Louie never gave up despite what at times seemed like insurmountable challenges. This is definitely a book that makes you gain an appreciation for what we have and for all men and women who fought in WWII. The only thing I would have liked is if Laura spent some more time discussing Louie's life after the war and after he found God. Other than that, this book is a treasure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly outstanding book, May 24 2011
A truly outstanding book, beautifully written and that leaves you unable to put the book down. Louis Zamperini's courage and determination not to give in to one of mankind's worst periods of abuse is a tribute not only to him but does justice to the many men mentioned within his account who despite being beaten,tortured and abused did not lose their desire to survive and fight back no matter how small the victory. This should be required reading for young people to appreciate how power and cultural pressures if not curtailed can lead to atrocities and abuses of power. A sad book in many ways but ultimately also one that demonstrates the power of the human spirit to rise above hatred and find new paths to forgiveness. A book I will pass to my friends and children to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heroic, Violent and Commemorative, July 31 2013
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The lifetime of Zamperini was scarred with challenge from his youth until his redemption through the influence of a Christian Church. The story is one of overcoming these challenges as a renegade, a prisoner of war, an alcoholic and eventually a leader.
It is remarkable but the violence and terror as a POw is a difficult read. I would recommend this book to those who have an interest in World War !! as well as those who enjoy reading biographies of resilience and survival
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the most horrific survival stories you will ever hear, Feb. 12 2011
By 
Nicola Mansfield (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
Reason for Reading: This book dealt with many topics that interest me: World War II, especially the war with Japan, the Japanese war atrocities and survival stories, especially those at sea.

What an amazing book! I would give it 10/10 if I could and two thumbs up if it were a movie. I'd be very surprised if it wasn't made into a movie either, unless telling about the relatively unknown Japanese atrocities is too much for Hollywood to handle.

Louis Zamperini was a boy with humble beginnings, who grew up to have a shot at Olympic stardom, which was torn away from him by WWII and instead replaced by one of the most horrific survival stories you will ever hear. Seven years in the writing Hillenbrand has brought a book and a story that will not be forgotten by time. This is a story that everyone need read to see what despicable, horrific things human beings are capable of doing to others and how the spirit of other human beings are capable of surviving even the most degrading and self-demeaning tasks placed on top of daily torture of the most extreme kind. This book is hard to read in many places, but is also full of many moments of pathos. The POWs managed to find little ways to brighten their days at the expense of their prison keepers to help keep their morale up.

Louis started life as a thief and a thug, until his older brother took his energy and placed it into something more constructive. Track. Louis was a natural, but didn't take to it kindly at first, since he easily won without trying, until he saw that with real effort he could actually break efforts and his dream for the Olympics took over and he became a changed youth, participating in the Berlin Olympics. The War came along, and the draft changed Louis's life forever. As a bombardier of a B-29 he survived a crash into the Pacific Ocean and floating aboard a life raft for a record breaking 47 days with two other crew members only to be "rescued" in the end by the Japanese. Where he then spent the rest of the war with Japan as a POW in their Geneva Convention breaking camps. As one officer is quoted as saying "This is not Geneva. This is Japan."

The rags to riches story of Louis' childhood truly endears him to the reader as a character one really cares for. He is a sharp, intelligent man-youth, witty and with a sense of fun, that one cannot help but fall for him. Making his life story all that more horrific. Hillenbrand has done a good job of bringing Zamperini to life as a human being with his character strengths, quirks and flaws. The survival in the Pacific makes for absolutely riveting, unbearable and compelling reading. Hillenbrand, while writing of the POW experience, also manages to reveal some information on why the Japanese atrocities are so little known today and why their war criminals were given amnesty, while German war criminals are still hunted down to this day. (Though I believe what they presume to be the last living war criminal was extradited in just the recent past.) It certainly had nothing to do with the Japanese being any less inhumane during the war. In Hillenbrand's "Acknowledgements" she notes that the war is still a controversial topic in Japan and some of her Japanese sources asked not to be named. A MUST READ BOOK!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, April 23 2011
By 
Lisa Carruthers (Morin Heights, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book reads like a fiction thriller. I have to admit, for me,most non fiction books tend to be very dry and boring. This book raises the bar for non fiction books everywhere. The fact that these events actually happened to this man is astounding. The resilience of Louis can only provide inspiration to anyone that reads this book. I highly recommend this to anyone that is interested in a spell binding,engrossing,suspenseful book. You will not be disappointed!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing life and a biography to do it justice, April 1 2011
By 
Rodge (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is one of those books you can't praise highly enough. The character at its centre, Louie Zamperini, had enough experiences for 3 or 4 people's lives. Hard to believe it, but this isn't a novel, this is a real man's life. From his time as a world class runner and Olympian to being lost at sea to the horrors of a Japanese POW camp this story will blow your mind - this time that's not an exaggeration. Abandon that epic novel you were about to pick up and read this instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph of the Human Spirit!, July 8 2014
A profoundly moving story about the transcendent capacity of the human spirit to endure the unspeakable. The biographer of Louis Zamperini describes his delinquent childhood, the successful redirection of his errant energies into running, and his history as an award-winning Olympian before his entry into the Army Air Force during WW2.

The crash of his plane over the shark-infested Pacific Ocean began a whole new chapter in Louis' life. Imagine 46 days with no food or water, hungry sharks rubbing the bottom of the lifeboat in eager anticipation?

Author Laura Hillenbrand analyzes Louis’ capacity to survive along with several of his friends:

“Though all three men (in the life raft) faced the same hardship, their differing perspectives of it appeared to be shaping their fates. Louis’ and Phil’s hope displaced their fear and inspired them to work towards their survival and each success renewed their physical and emotional vigor…Louis and Phil’s optimism were becoming self-fulfilling."

Their fateful landing was not at all the joy they’d hoped for: they were held POW in Japanese camps and there treated to the most inhumane of cruelty by Japanese guards, the worst being ‘The Monster’ Watanabe who, through incessant beatings, tried to deprive Louis and his friends of their most important possession – human dignity.

Author Hillenbrand comments: “This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness; to be deprived of it is to be de-humanized, ...In its absence, men are defined not by themselves, but by their captors… In captivity in Kwajalein, Louis and Philip learned a dark truth known to the doomed in Hitler’s death camps, the slaves of the American South, and a hundred other generations of betrayed people."

This powerful history cum biography describes amazing American and Australian POW survival tactics that kept them alive and as well, outlines the worst consequences of survival, namely post-war trauma, wherein the victim of abuse can actually destroy his own rescued life.

We learn how Louie’s post-war trauma was healed and with every page are astonished at this brave story of human resilience.

Congratulations to author Laura Hillenbrand for her excellent accomplishment of 400 pages of inspiration.

Eleanor Cowan, author of: A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hard reading but a powerful story, May 2 2014
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This is a very forceful story. It's hard to believe the cruelty the POW's survived. It's a story of survival, determination and finally redemption. I would recommend it to almost anyone, certainly any Christian.
This is a story that I will read again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, Aug. 4 2011
By 
air.bear "YVR" (British Columbia) - See all my reviews
What a great story! I would read this book again. I went through it so quickly. It's really well written and very captivating. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the hardships of a war, the insanity and lack of logic during a war. This is a fantastic story. Two thumbs up!
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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (Audio CD - Nov. 16 2010)
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