Book Review: "Unbroken", by Laura Hillenbrand

I both purchased a copy of this book (I think from Goodwill) and borrowed a copy of this book from the writer's salon on Dupont Circle. Perhaps unusually for me, I watched the movie before I read the book, and the movie was pretty good at convincing me to read the book.

"Unbroken" chronciles the story of Louie Zamperini, the man who could have run the first four-minute mile in known human history. I say could have, because before he did, Pearl Harbor blew up and America had to go return some bombs to the original sender. As part of this effort, Louie had to go drop some bombs, which he did before he crashed into the Pacific, drifted two thousand miles into Japanese hands, and then got beaten and starved to an inch of his life for a few years.

I think this book does bring a very human face to war, and the side that people don't really see. It's not the glamorous aviator or the heroic Marine, but the ragged and dejected POW. It also chronicles how wars don't just end because somebody signed a piece of paper. Louie struggled for years with drink and temprament issues before finding his peace (with God as it turns out), and struggled with knowing that his tormentor was not only alive but also immensely rich and financially successful. I think it's a great read for those of us who listen too much to propaganda, and put a rosy face on war instead.