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Weekend Book Review: “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | March 6, 2011

No. 593

Please read “Unbroken” soon, before the movie comes out.

Louis Zamperini was an American Olympic runner from USC who competed in the 1936 Berlin Games. By the 1940 games, Zamperini was predicted to be among the world’s best milers. World War II came and Lt. Zamperini found himself as the bombardier on the crew of a B45 in the Pacific in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

After surviving a series of harrowing air battles, Zamperini and his crew crashed into the open sea while on a rescue mission.  The three survivors drifted westward over two thousand miles, surviving shark attacks, starvation, enemy strafing and a long series of setbacks by their wits and will to live.  But when the raft finally drifted into the Japanese-controlled Marshall Islands, the tests of his will to survive were just beginning.

Despite the inhuman conditions, Zamperini and many of his colleagues came home after Japan surrendered.  The atomic bomb may have saved the surviving prisoners of war in Japan, as a “kill all order”, anticipating an invasion, was scheduled almost exactly when Hiroshima was bombed.

But even then, the story was not over. Hillenbrand follows the lives of Louis and his friends and family, as well as some leading Japanese players, up to the present day.  This post-war saga turns out, in some ways, to be just as revealing as what preceded it.  In truth, the message is only understood by examining the full lives of the characters.

If you are facing overwhelming challenges in your life, challenges which you worry are more than you can bear, you may find inspiration in the life of Louis Zamperini. Perhaps you are much stronger than you think.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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