Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published Date: November 16th 2010
Genre: Non-fiction, adult, Biography, WWII
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
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.
“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. Louie thought: Let go.”
I never really know what to say in these reviews, because I don't want to give anything away. But I will say this, if you can please listen to the audiobook of this. If I hadn't I honestly don't think I could have gotten through Zamperini being a POW and the horrible conditions he and so many others had to live in was almost to much for me to listen to at times. But it is so important that we all can know what happened to them, so we don't let it happen again, and that we can really understand more about why so many of them struggled when they came home. The majority of this story does take place in POW camp's this is where we really get to see Zamperini survive and thrive almost at times.
Now I had seen the movie before having read this, so I think if I hadn't of seen it first, I probably wouldn't have pushed through it as much as I did, because I wanted to see more of what happened once he had gotten home and what he had done in his later years.
For me the best parts of Zamperini's story were his younger years before the war, and what he did after the war. Sure he was a troubled child and an even more troubled adult after the war, he was still very determined. And finally with the help of his wife he was able to turn things around and turn into a very great man, who helped many young people and showed how perseverance and God can really help you get through the bad things in life.
“When he thought of his history, what resonated with him now was not all that he had suffered but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him.”