Unbroken written by Laura Hillenbrand is a phenomenal historical WW2 documentary following one Olympian runner named Louie Zamperini. Laura does a great job of portraying the entire story from his early life all the way to getting back into civilian life. She also does an excellent job of explaining in detail the surroundings, the struggles, and the wretchedness of war. At times, I could actually picture myself right alongside of Louie during his encounters.
In this fascinating true account, Zamperini meets Hitler at the 36 Olympics, his B-29 bomber is shot down over the Pacific, he floats aimlessly through the Pacific for 47 days, and is moved from various prison camps during his imprisonment.
Things I learned:
- The philosophical differences between the Japanese and Americans. For Japanese, it is considered weakness to surrender or be caught as a prisoner.
- Page 167 – The mind is like a muscle – you need to use it. During Louie’s floating, he keeps his mind sharp by recalling memories and can keep focused for hours on end.
- Page 206 – Dignity is very important for survival. During the brutal Japanese treatment, Zamperini was brought to the brink of insanity.
- Page 320 – The dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The pilots could feel their fillings vibrate, and their plane affected by the blowback from the bomb. Also, this act of death meant survival for Louie because the Japanese would not surrender.
- The kill all order – The Japanese issued a kill all policy for prisoners of war. The Japanese did not follow the Geneva convention, stole many of the Red Cross provisions, and a third of prisoners perished during Japanese imprisonment.
- The sacrifice of my fellow Americans during their duty. I could feel the closeness of death that many of the soldiers felt during the bombing missions and flying over the Pacific Ocean.
- One brutal guard named Mutshurio Watanabe, aka “the Bird,” and his story is intertwined throughout the last half of the book. This man is a total monster right up there with Hitler.
- If stuck in the ocean – the only part on a shark that you can eat is the liver.
This reading took me from Feb 22 to the 25 2012. I could not put the book down because it is extremely moving. I am deeply moved at how blessed I am to have clean food to eat and water to drink. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in WW2 history.
Here is another good review of this book…click here.