REVIEW: Unbroken

What an astonishing book Laura Hillenbrand has written, about the experiences of a world-class American runner who winds up in a Japanese POW camp during World War II. Louie Zamperini was a wild boy growing up in early 20th-century California until he discovered his talent for running. He channeled his energies into reaching ever-higher athletic goals, including competing (though not winning) at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Louie is training for the 1940 Olympics when World War II breaks out; he joins the Army Air Corps and eventually is sent to the Pacific theater after Pearl Harbor. He survives a number of harrowing close calls, but when his bomber crashes into the Pacific with only himself and two other men surviving on a life raft, it seems his luck has finally run out. What follows is an unbelievable story of survival — survival for weeks at sea, survival in a series of Japanese POW camps, and survival over the demons that haunt him even after he returns home. An unforgettable story about an unforgettable man.