Thursday, August 16

Bibliophile [unbroken]

This one is a doozy.

Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
You probably already know all about this, but here's the blurb:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, 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.

I'm not going to go too much into this, since we all know the topic and have heard about this a million times. Out of the 18 war novels I can remember reading, I've liked one, The Things They Carried (no I did not like Catch-22, anything by Hemingway, or War and Peace). This may be the second, but bear in mind this is not a novel but a biography. The stuff this guy lived through is amazing- truly, it's hard to get your head around the abuse. But, it's a longgggggg one. By going over his experiences in such detail, a lot of pages were added but I'm not sure what else- I wasn't more impressed with his strength or more disgusted with his captors, because I was already those things to the extreme. I think the full story is fascinating, but I was plowing through it just to be done by the 3/4 mark. It would have helped if the writing was more philosophical or reflective, but it was pretty much just factual. Worth knowing the story? Inspiring? A good conversation starter? Sure.  But you can get those things from Wikipedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

how you like dem apples?