The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
Kindle Edition, 497 pages
Published November 6th 2010 by Random House
This book has been reviewed hundreds of thousands of times plus was made into a movie so I will keep my thoughts relatively short. I have a fascination with WWI and WWII and have read hundreds of books both fiction and nonfiction about both. I knew nothing about Louis Zamperini and my knowledge of the role the Japanese played in the war was fairly limited to Pearl Harbor and the atomic bomb. I've also read a lot about the Japanese Americans that were sent to internment camps in the US. Most of my knowledge of WWII was around the Holocaust and I'm fairly well read on Russia and the 900 day blockade in Leningrad. However, with all of the reading I've done you would think that I would be beyond capable of being shocked. WRONG...this book shocked me over and over and over again.
The things that Zamperini went through, endured, braved and challenged were beyond any words that I have. A strong person would be lucky to survive just one of the ordeals that he lived through. For him to be challenged so many times in so many ways was just short of unbelievable. In fact, I think unbelievable was the word that I kept uttering while turning the pages. Seriously, his war was fought on so many levels in so many ways that I don't know where he ever found the strength to keep going. That also goes for the rest of the POWs that he was with.
War is ugly and Louis' story is just one of millions from all sides of the battle that proved just how ugly it is. Strength and endurance was something that was a necessity in order to survive.
This book fed my thirst for knowledge even though the subject matter was tough to take at times. Now that I've finally cleared this book from my TBR pile I can also watch the movie.
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