By Laura Hillenbrand

2010 Random House

In May, 1943, a B-24 went down over the Pacific. Three men from the plane survived and managed to climb into rafts. One of them was Louis Zamperini, a former juvenile delinquent turned aspiring Olympic runner. Louis and the pilot survived and were picked up by a Japanese ship and later handed over to a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The next 2 years took Zamperini to the far frontiers of human suffering.

Hillenbrand, who did such a masterful job with Seabiscuit, applies her same precise attention to detail in this deeply moving book. Although the reader’s attention is focused on Zamperini’s hellish experiences, there is a great deal of information about the war in the Pacific.

A book like this reminds the reader of the true cost of American liberty. These men were our neighbors, our friends, boys who grew up in a paradoxical era – kinder, simpler at home, while horror and mass death surged across Europe and the Far East. They were swept suddenly into war and what many of them endured defies our ability to comprehend.

Hillenbrand has given us a great gift here. Every generation needs to be reminded of the sacrifices made by those who came before. This book does that. Powerfully.

P.S. At this writing, Louis Zamperini was still alive and would have just turned 95.


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