Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

December 27, 2014 Blog, Book Club, Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Unbroken by Laura HillenbrandUnbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Published by Random House Publishing Group on 2010-11-16
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, History, Military, Sports, World War II
Pages: 528
Source: Purchase
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, 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.  Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and the Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year award   “Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic.”—The Wall Street Journal   “[A] one-in-a-billion story . . . designed to wrench from self-respecting critics all the blurby adjectives we normally try to avoid: It is amazing, unforgettable, gripping, harrowing, chilling, and inspiring.”—New York   “Staggering . . . mesmerizing . . . Hillenbrand’s writing is so ferociously cinematic, the events she describes so incredible, you don’t dare take your eyes off the page.”—People   “A meticulous, soaring and beautifully written account of an extraordinary life.”—The Washington Post   “Ambitious and powerful . . . a startling narrative and an inspirational book.”—The New York Times Book Review  “Magnificent . . . incredible . . . [Hillenbrand] has crafted another masterful blend of sports, history and overcoming terrific odds; this is biography taken to the nth degree, a chronicle of a remarkable life lived through extraordinary times.”—The Dallas Morning News   “An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity.”—Entertainment Weekly   “A tale of triumph and redemption . . . astonishingly detailed.”—O: The Oprah Magazine   “[A] masterfully told true story . . . nothing less than a marvel.”—Washingtonian   “[Hillenbrand tells this] story with cool elegance but at a thrilling sprinter’s pace.”—Time   “Hillenbrand [is] one of our best writers of narrative history. You don’t have to be a sports fan or a war-history buff to devour this book—you just have to love great storytelling.”—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

My Thoughts

Oh! This book!! So many feels!

The gun cracked, the men rushed forward, and the race was on. Lash bounded to the lead, with Bright in close pursuit. Louie dropped back, and the field settled in for the grind.

The beginning of the book was quite dramatic. I loved Louie from the start. He wasn’t perfect but sadly he was hurting people. Once he realized this he knew he had to stop and change his ways, but how!? His brother Pete and his family was a great influence. Family is always an influence whether we see it so plainly or not. In the case of Louie they were a good, a very good influence. I also loved his mother, although it was Pete that really pushed him to find the greatness within.

A photographer climved inside the plane and snapped a picture. Taken in daylight in the dark of the plane’s interior, the image showed shafts of light streaming through the holes, a shower of stars against a black sky.

With all of the drama at the beginning I was dreading reaching the point of his captivity but with such poignant writing I couldn’t help but race through the book. His military days were fantastic and I could feel myself living vicariously through his happy days. I wanted to meet the people he met, go on the trips he went on, and enjoy life as much as he did! At least until…

Nobody’s going to live through this.

22% into the book and it starts getting deep. Really deep. I started to feel myself being afraid for his life, wondering how he was going to survive. He kept many journals so there wasn’t a guarantee (unlike my hubby who knew about Louie Zamborini, I had not heard of him) that he was going to live. I wanted to avert my eyes, stop reading, anything to forgo re-living the traumatic events that led to his capture. And they are TRAUMATIC! But I could not help myself. The more dramatic the events the more I wanted to rush through the story and learn his fate.

On a side note… never, EVER ask yourself

After a plane crash, Louie replied, what more bad luck could they have?

More about the actual writing, although the story was tremendously heavy and amazing and nearly unbelievable, the writing was exceptional. I do not think I could have gotten through this much horror without such exquisite writing. It was lyrical in parts and very deep in others and even had a slight spirituality in certain areas.

The fight for this place had ripped the jungle off of the island.

In short: This is an epic battle with not only outside sources, there are many, but also with his own spirit. This will leave you stunned but it is major food for thought. This is definitely a must read and I cannot wait to see the upcoming movie!

Rating Report
5 / 5
Character Development
5 / 5
Writing Style
5 / 5
Personal enjoyment
5 / 5
5 / 5
Overall: 5 / 5



The Author
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

2 Responses to “Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand”

  1. R_Hunt @ View From My Home

    It’s rare to see you give 5/5 I think, so this must be a good one! I look forward to reading it and also seeing the movie. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with hubby. I haven’t been on much for the past couple of weeks due to family time, but I intend to be more active starting this weekend.
    R_Hunt @ View From My Home recently posted…Season’s MessageMy Profile

    • Christina

      There were parts that almost took away from the story but they were just so intense! I read it so fast. In some parts I had to slow myself down! I can’t wait to see what you think.

      Same here… we’re off next week also but I plan to be around more often! I hope your Christmas was fabulous!