In reading the prologue to this book, I was hooked.
"Their bodies, burned by the sun and stained yellow from the raft dye, had winnowed down to skeletons. Sharks glided in lazy loops around them, dragging their backs along the rafts, waiting."
This is the true story of Louie Zamperini an Italian man from Torrence, California. His life as a rebel child stealing what he could just because he could, the life of a favorite in the Olympic games of 1936, and the amazing life of an army bombardier lost at sea in the Pacific ocean and was declared dead by our government but who spent 2 years as a POW of the Japanese.
I have a fascination with any story that revolves around WWII. As I was reading this book, I remembered stories that my dad used to tell me as I was growing up of his time spent in that war. I also remembered the many times that he was quiet when certain subjects were brought up about the war. This book shed light on why men who served in the American military kept that part of their lives in the past.
The images the story brought to mind are at times so unbelievable that they almost seem fictitious. From the beatings, starvation and degradation that these men faced, this book brings to light many things that were never told or that have been forgotten.
Even though I will probably never get to meet this man, I felt that I have. Between this book and some things that I have found online while reading it, I feel as if I know him to an extent. He is truly a shining light that even one of the most sadistic men couldn't break.
Thank you to both Louis Zamperini for sharing his story and to Laura Hillenbrand for the wonderful story that she has put together about him.
Louis Zamperini is still alive today and at the age of 93, he has done so many things in his life that has helped him heal from the physical and emotional wounds he has endured. The story is one of true resilience, survival and one of a true American hero.
Check out www.louiezamperini.com for some video clips of the man behind this wonderful book. He was featured in the 1998 Olympic Winter games and currently does speaking engagements.