Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
“Unbroken” – A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is written by Laura Hillenbrand. The story is the biography of Louie Zamperini. The novel describes the life of the world war survivor, from his childhood through the warfront.
About the Author :
Laura Hillenbrand was born on May 15, 1967. She is an American author and magazine articles writer. Two of her best-selling nonfiction books are Seabiscuit: An American Legend and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.
Louie is an athlete, army man and a great survivor of the World War II. The story starts with the childhood life of Louie in Torrance. His schooling exposed his talents, getting him national record-setting runner award. He was known as ‘Torrance Tornado’ for his racing when he made it to the Berlin Olympics in 1936. However, his Olympics dreams were derailed by the World War II.
Soon, he got enlisted in the Army Corps and joined the Air Force. He became a Bombardier soon after the Pearl Harbor incident. Unfortunately, when the plane crashes, the crew is left in desperation in the Pacific Ocean. He survived the perils of seawaters with his three crew members – Louie, Mac and Phil. The 46 days of fear and agony in the sea was intensified with dangerous sharks, starving for food, missing rescue opportunity, and ending up at the land of the enemies. Louie faced the adversity with strong will and persistent courage. They were then rescued by the Japanese merchant ship, but were taken as Prisoners of War to Japan.
Louie was imprisoned at the captive’s camp in Japan for more than 2 years. He endured more hardships in the prison such as vicious abuse, demeaning acts, and several torments. Louie survived the fomentations with extreme courage. One of the tormenter in prison was ‘the Bird’ Watanabe, who gives harsh punishments to him. Later, the prison days were better with relaxed atmosphere and Red Cross food distribution because of the disappearance of Watanabe. Soon after the war got over, the prisoners were sent to their hometown.
Louie faced extremely displeasing days in the aftermath. His mind was filled with camp torments and nightmares of Watanabe. Since his war story became popular, he was not left with any chance to forget his bad memories. He had to live his horrors of war again and again and finally became an emotionally drained drunkard.
To overcome his drinking addiction, he started preparing for his Olympics dream in 1948. However, his mind did not get peace with running. His mind was filled with the torments of the Bird and to deliver from the restlessness, he decided to take vengeance. In his final days, he lost terribly in his Olympics run and his possessions were lost. He was left in a depressed state blaming God for the terrible war happenings and his fate. He even forbade his family from attending church.
Later, Louie changed from the preaching of Billy Graham at Los Angeles. Once he confronts the problems to God, he finds a sort of peace. He started thanking god for saving him from the seawaters and taking out of the ordeal. Finally, he decides to head back to Japan to meet his tormentors and prisoners. On arriving in Japan, he came to know the suicidal death of Watanabe and feels compassion for him. His heart was filled with forgiveness.
Louie’s indomitable will power helped him face the life struggles during and after the wartime. Finally, he had emerged as a compassionate person with forgiving heart because of his faith in God the author makes his narration beautifully mingled with the real events in the life of Louie.