Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

Hope everyone is having a good start to the new year. Personally, I am not doing so well on my health plans and also posting regularly on my blog.

But anyway, today I wanted to talk about this book that I’ve just finished and I fell in love. I read a lot of World War 2 fiction as I love it and this book was perfect non-fiction book to compliment my reading list.

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This book follows the story of Louis Zamperini. Louis was a troublesome child and was found it difficult to focus on anything to balance his energy. His brother Pete helped Louis and got him on board with running in high school. He trained really hard and finally qualified for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and finished 8th in the 500m race.

His life changed in 1941 when he was commissioned by the US Air forces to serve as bombardier in the B-24 aircraft. This book follows the journey of Louis briefly through early days and through his entire journey of survival. It not one of those non-fictions which is heavy on stats and data but it is a beautifully written true story.

This book is proof that war can never be easy and the magnitude of people impacted is just so crazy. The common citizens in Japan were suffering from the lack of food and basic amenities, and so were the prison guards. I can’t imagine surviving in a world portrayed in this book. Louis was captured by the Japanese Navy and was a prisoner of war until the war ended in 1945. His experiences with Mutsushiro (referred to as The Bird) were the most gruesome. It was gut wrenching to see how a man’s ego can destroy another helpless man’s life.

Another theme is this book which actually made me keep reading this book is the attitude and Louis’s will to live. A man’s will to live can help him through most situations: lack of food/water, lack of basic facilities including hot water or baths for that matter. I can’t imagine fasting for a day or two but Louis drifted in water for 47 days with 2 other. How is that even possible?

I was listening to this on audiobook and this was the book which took me the longest because there was so much sadness and suffering that I had to take a break. There are many unlucky POW (Prisoners of War) who don’t survive through the long cycles of starvation but is it easier for those who survive? Louis’s life wasn’t easy at all. Years after the war he had nightmares about the bird and his marriage suffered too. To think that this is a true story and to imagine someone going through all of this is something which I will never forget and truly recover from.


If you are truly curious about WW2 and learning more about life of POW during and after then this is a book for you. However, I must warn you that it is not easy and it is long because it is very detailed.

Rating – ♥♥♥♥/ 5

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

  1. Catherine says:

    I saw the movie and thought it was amazing, but have yet to pick up the book. I’m afraid of the passages with The Bird. I read an article about Zamperini after he died and it said that until his death The Bird never felt any remorse about his actions and never apologized.

    I’m still going to add this to my TBR- sounds like it would be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

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