Friday, January 21, 2011

Unbroken - Lessons in Perseverance

Anyone who can dedicate an entire book to a horse, is an author I can get behind.  Even better is when the book is actually GOOD!  Laura Hillenbrand did just that with her first (?) novel Seabiscuit.  In Seabiscuit she really explored the world of horse racing from all angles and needless to say I was hooked immediately.

Recently, Hillenbrand's new novel, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, was popping up on every list I saw!

Cover Art
I read the synopsis and it was all about this guy Louis Zamperini, who I was not really familiar with, so it did not draw my attention.  Also, I was not looking to add to my book collection in anticipation of my Kindle!  In the meantime, however, a couple of my friends had read it and said it was pretty good, so I decided to give it a go and once again Hillenbrand out did herself.

The amount of research done in order to give the complete picture of Zamperini's life was impressive.  She was able to detail so many different facets of his eventful life.  This is a guy who started out as a challenging child, to becoming a world class track star and setting records, to the Berlin Olympics where he actually met Hilter, to becoming a Bombardier during WWII, to a POW in Japan, and onto figuring out how to live his life after the War. 

I was surprised at how inspirational the book was considering the amount of time spent describing life during Zamperini's time in the POW camps.  At certain points I really wondered how much a single person could take.  I think it was his spirit and seeing how he, along with the others at the camps, overcame all the amazing odds against was actually uplifting in light of the depressing setting.

Although the book was relatively long and had a massive number of details throughout, it really was an easy read (and being my first Kindle read i was worried!).  I finished and was happy to have learned so much about a fascinating person.  Zamperini's story in another author's hands may have not been as compelling, but Hillenbrand did him justice by taking such get care of his story.  For the rest of us, we now get the advantage of easily learning about this amazing individual.

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