Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

Best. Book. Ever.

Ok, well, one of them.  This book was lent to me by a co-worker of my husband upon learning that I love WWII books.  I am so glad he did and was patient with me borrowing it for so long whilst I completed my gardening course and previous book.  I am so so so very glad I kept it instead of returning it upon the realization that I wouldn't be getting it to it as soon as I had hoped.  This was, by far, one of the most excellent books I have ever read.

As it says on the cover, it's a story of survival.  Louie Zamperini didn't just survive, though.  He conquered; conquered life, the enemy, and himself.  One reason I love reading about these people who've faced such great trial in their lives is how they come out in the end, how they're determined to come out in the end when everything in between is doing its best to break them.  Amazing.  This man is one I'd have at my "if I could invite anyone over to dinner" table.  The things he had to endure, the attitude of optimism he kept, the life-altering choices he made because of it and ability to forgive his enemies truly leave me in awe. 

I don't want to give away too much of the story when I do these reviews in hopes that it'll entice you to read it yourself, if you haven't already, but one thing I learned from this book was something I now long to learn more about:  the Japanese side of the war.  I've focused so much on the Holocaust part of it that I never gave the other side much thought.  I knew they bombed Pearl Harbor, but I didn't know why.  Now I do.  The Japanese leader, at the time, had the same notions Hitler had.  He thought he could rule at least all of Asia and that the Japanese were the superior race.  In the POW camps held by the Japanese, the treatment wasn't unlike that of the ones in Europe.  My grandfather, who died almost 10 years ago, served in Okinawa during the war.  I interviewed him when I was in Jr. High... oh, how I wish he was still alive so I could re-do that interview and ask better questions.  It really makes me want to go down to our local Senior center and find someone I could talk to about the war.  Real people's stories are so much better than fiction!

If you haven't read this book, do.  That's an order.  ;)  You'll thank me later, I promise.

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