I grabbed my wife’s Kindle and a piping hot cup of coffee early Saturday morning, slid sideways onto the loveseat in the corner of the drawing room. The sunlight poured in the eastern windows against my back as I pulled my feet under me and began reading the last chapters of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I had to take a few short breaks from reading to respond to some emails from work, and used the occasions to warm my coffee. Before I realized it, it was past lunchtime. I just could not make myself put the book down, and finally finished it just before evening.
Throughout the day, I had some trouble keeping my trifocals dry as I read this true and remarkable story of Louie Zamperini written in astonishing detail by Laura Hillenbrand, also the author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Deployed as an Army Air Force B-24 bombardier during World War II, Louie Zamperini’s aircraft went down due to mechanical failure in May, 1943. Thirteen months later the United States War Department declared Louis Zamperini dead.
Mark Twain once wrote, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Unbroken is an unbelievable, yet true saga, so unreal that it truly is a perfect example of fact being stranger than fiction. Twain also wrote, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” And so were the reports of Louie Zamperini, who was thought to have been killed in action, but eventually returned home to a hero’s welcome.
This book is a page-turner, overflowing with skillfully organized well-documented details of extraordinary events in our county’s history and in the life of Louie Zamperini.