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Julie Moriarty
03-04-2014, 11:09 AM
I just finished reading this book. I don't think I've ever read a book about human suffering, endurance, resilience and determination that stunned me like this book did. Had the book not been so well researched, I would be saying some of it must have been fabricated or the victim of human imagination.

The movie is getting attention now and that's how I found the book. I haven't seen the movie. For those who are unfamiliar with Unbroken, it's the story of an incorrigible child, Louis Zamperini, who channeled his energies into running. His accomplishments in the field of running were unprecedented. Many say he would have been the first man to break the 4:00 mile. But WWII got in the way. He became a bombardier on the unloved B-24, the plane most said could barely fly on four engines, but it was a workhorse of early WWII.

Sent on a mission to find a missing crew, he boarded a B-24 that had been deemed unfixable and was being cannibalized for parts to repair other B-24s. Some 800 miles from base, the plane began faltering and eventually went down. Three of the crew survived. They salvaged two 6-foot life rafts and drifted at sea for weeks, barely surviving shark attacks, the bullets of Japanese fighters and starvation. Two of them almost made it to land, after 2000 miles at sea, only to be intercepted by the Japanese.

And their life turned into hell on earth.

Louie Zamperini is still alive today. At 95, he seems to still be going strong. It's an amazing story.

Mel Fulks
03-04-2014, 11:24 AM
Does sound like an amazing story.....and if Spielberg does a movie about it, it will be TWICE as amazing!

Bob Rufener
03-04-2014, 11:58 AM
About 2 years ago, I was walking back to our rented condo in Florida and mentioned to a lady that I had just finished reading this great book called "Unbroken". She told me that Louis was going to be at a church the following Tuesday about 8 miles away. My wife and I and another couple went there and he is an amazing person. At the time he was in a wheel chair as he had broken a leg but his voice was very strong and his mind was exceptionally sharp. He was brutalized in a Japanese POW camp by a guard they called "The Bird Man" but he got through the ordeal and forgave this guard for all the beatings he had incurred. Quite a story and a worthwhile read.

Don Morris
03-04-2014, 3:59 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the book. Always great to hear of real life stories like that and another good book to read.

Steve Rozmiarek
03-04-2014, 9:39 PM
Sounds good, I need a good story to make me quit feeling sorry for myself. That certainly ought to do it.

Frederick Skelly
03-04-2014, 9:58 PM
Thanks Julie! Sounds like a great read. I'll add it to my list.
Fred

Julie Moriarty
03-04-2014, 10:03 PM
Steve, since I started reading that book, I'll never feel sorry for myself again. The trailer for the movie gave me goosebumps but the actors were way too healthy looking for our POWs in Japan. Most weighed little more than half of their normal weight and subsisted on seaweed and rice the size of golf ball.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRUYJZ3DdHU

Julie Moriarty
03-04-2014, 10:12 PM
Bob, how cool you met Louie! I'll bet that broken leg didn't slow him down.

Mutsuhiro Watanabe, alias the Bird, haunted even me. While reading the book, I labeled him a sociopath, and the POW camps were a perfect place for people like that. But by the end of the book, I think he thought he was simply a superior being. Japanese leaders were preaching theirs was a superior race. Watanabe came from a wealthy family and had never known hardship. But after he joined the military, out of duty to country, they cut him from officer's school and relegated him to POW guard, a place many who couldn't make their military ended up. I think he was a very bitter man. He never admitted what he had done was wrong, but there are no reports I know of that indicate he repeated in civilian life the atrocities he did as a POW guard.

Here's a link to a CBS interview with him. http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Louis-Zamperini-Making-a-New-Life

John Conklin
03-05-2014, 9:00 AM
I've read Unbroken too and would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys history. Hope the movie is half as good as the book... sometimes they are disapointing though.

Jerome Stanek
03-05-2014, 11:28 AM
There is another very good book that I read years ago "Night Never Ending" about a Polish officer that survived the the massacre in the Katyn Forrest.