I don't often post book reviews here, because I generally post them to Amazon. However, I am fairly certain that this may be the best book I'll read this year, and wanted readers to know!
There is no doubt for me that Laura Hillenbrand's sophomore non-fiction book, "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" is the finest book I've read in 2011, and my suspicions are that it will remain so, for the rest of this year.
The product of unceasing and excellent research, coupled with Hillenbrand's one on one relationship with hero Louie Zamperini and her ability to drawn in, to absorb her readers, much the same way she did with her first book "Seabiscuit"; all of that is in the background when you begin to read, and, when you do, you cannot put her story down.
Moving from pre-war (WWII) California, where Louie was a local high school and college athlete with international track aspirations, to the schism that was the pre-war Olympics in Nazi Germany, from the Honolulu that existed post Pearl Harbor, to the terrors of flying a plane in the early part of the war, Hillenbrand gives you the resilient backbone of former hellraiser and lifelong comic Zamperini.
The landscape abruptly changes when Louie's plane is downed in the Pacific, and he and his fellows go through an agonizing and frightening experience adrift for a record-breaking 47 days in the shark-infested Pacific, only to be washed ashore and imprisoned by the Japanese. The account of his daily life with the Japanese, with torture and deprivation leading finally to rescue, is one that is inspirational, raw and leaves you with a breathless tale of heroism that will stay with you a long, long time, after you leave this book.
Having purchased the book for several friends, who had much the same response, I can say with confidence that I can highly recommend this book, and celebrate the career of the author, who will, hopefully, present us with more of her work in the decades to come.