The first book that I chose to read for the reading challenge was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Currently, Unbroken is second in all categories which it is ranked on the NY Times Best Sellers list. The book has also been made into a movie which was released on Christmas Day. Unbroken chronicles the unbelievable journey of Louie Zampernini, a former Olympic runner. In WWII Zampernini served in the Army Air Corps (no the Air Force) in a bombing squadron. During a search and rescue mission for a downed plane, Zampernini’s plane went down miles from land in the Pacific Ocean. For a month and a half he and the pilot (Phil) floated on a leaky raft, fending off sharks, thirst, hunger, and unpredictable weather. Remarkably they land in the Marshall Islands, Japanese occupied territory, and are taken as POW’s. As a POW, Louie fights for life and dignity as he suffers from malnutrition, thrust, and abuse. After the war Zampernini and his fellow POW’s are released, but he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcoholism. The best part of the story is the redemptive work of Jesus in Louie’s life, who goes on to overcome his PTSD and alcoholism, and found a camp for troubled youth in an effort to share the love of Christ. Unbroken is a must read!
The author Laura Hillenbrand also has a remarkable story. Read this NY Time article to learn more.
“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man’s soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it” (pg. 183).
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2010