Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

“An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive.” This subtitle perfectly describes Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken; engaging yet shocking yet inspiring at the same time. In this biographical novel, Hillenbrand shares the incredible story of Louis Zamperini. She writes from a third person omniscient point of view, including the thoughts and stories of side characters later interviewed. Her voice is a highlight of the book, as she describes not only Louis’s actions but the actions of those around him and even those not around him. For example, Hillenbrand explains what Louis, his friends, Hitler, a random sailor, and even a dog, are doing at the exact same moment. This powerful effect emphasizes that the entire world was deeply affected by the war. Hillenbrand’s writing has opened my eyes to life’s tragedies, especially those that come with war, and how brave individuals can make a difference.

I also really enjoy the character Phil. Although he was recently introduced, his relationship with Louis seems tantamount to gold. Phil reminds me of Reuven from The Chosen. Both characters are loyal friends and contain astonishing bravery. As the pilot, Phil affects Louis’s life, and will take any step to save him. Reuven is also a strong, courageous friend who took the extra steps to help Danny confront his father, sending him down a bright path.

Usually I am not a fan of non-fiction but so far I have immensely enjoyed Unbroken.  Louis’s determined yet mischievous character makes him loveable, yet leads me to question if he will guide himself down a more troublesome road. I am excited to continue reading and discover where Louis and his crew’s footsteps lead.


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16 responses to “Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

  1. Garland, all you have said is true! I too am very fond of the point of view which the story is told from. Laura Hillenbrand does an incredible job of not only telling an inspiring tale, but also including facts and details about the historical aspect and time period of what Louie Zamperini had to go through. Not only do I feel like I am reading a thoroughly engaging book, but I also feel as though my understanding of World War II is further developed. It most definitely is beneficial that we are studying this war in our World History classes, and therefore I am not as confused about some of the specific event, such as the Rape of Nanking, as I would be if I had not learned about it prior to the reading.

    The character development in “Unbroken” is phenomenal; I too have been falling in love with Phil’s character and the relationship that he holds with Louie. I was purely shocked with Jimmie’s character, and did not expect him to turn out to be a spy for the Japanese. Although this is non-fiction book, I still felt the same suspense and excitement I usually feel in a fictional novel. This, too, is a strength in Laura Hillenbrand’s writing.

    I am not sure if this is just the format of my book or not, but I genuinely appreciate the photographs that are strategically placed throughout the reading. It is always interesting to see how the characters physically look, and often their descriptions by the author match up to what I see in my mind and also to what I see on the photographs. I believe that this was a positive addition to my experience reading the book.

    Even though I have only read one quarter of the book, I have yet to be sucked into the powerful story. One reason for this is I believe that the chapters are a bit slow, and in my opinion learning all the details of the aircraft is not all that interesting; I enjoy the narrative portions where Hillenbrand includes anecdotes and little tidbits of memories, and am hopeful that the book will become more captivating as I read on.

    • Julia and Garland,
      I completely agree with your opinions on the novel. As you mentioned, this novel resembles the perfect balance between fiction and non-fiction. The plot incorporates the non-fiction facts about the events that occurred in WWII, and also the experiences the air corps went through during their training. On the other hand, the captivating narrator and story of the men provided readers with an urge to continue reading, as if it were a fictional story with a never-ending climax. I also feel that the pictures are very effective in this matter, illustrating the descriptive imagery that the author uses to capture the major events in Zamperini’s life. Personally, I think that Hillenbrand’s descriptions of Louis create a flawless persona of one who everyone admires and looks up to.

      The way the author uses an emotional connection between characters helps me relate and understand the circumstances the men are going through. For example, one of my favorite characters, Cecy, has a heartwarming relationship with his one and true love, which helps me understand who he is as a person, and connect on a more personal level. Also, the bond between Pete and Louie also remind me of Dany and Reuven. They might at times come into conflict, but in the end, they are only looking out for what is best for one another, pushing each other to be the best he can be.

      Finally, I think the most compelling idea to me is the concept of perseverance. Louie displays an identity that is willing to persevere and get through anything, which inspires me in my everyday life. For example, when he could no longer pursue his olympic dream of running when he was to return to training for the war, it made me feel sorry and upset for his dreams that had been crushed, but through his determination and willingness, it gave me the inspiration to have his attitude. After reading only the first ¼ of the book, I have already learned a crucial message about life, that through any event that happens in life, complete it to the best of your ability and no matter how hard it is, give every single ounce of your being to make it the best it can be.

      Overall, this book has already become one of my favorite books and not only educates readers, but gives an inevitable message of love, perseverance, and life. After reading the first section of this book, I cannot wait to continue and discover the numerous experiences Louie Zamperini has yet to experience.

      • All three of you make excellent observations about the book and I completely agree with all of them. Hillenbrand’s perspective is the reason this insane non-fiction story can seem like fiction. Her voice and insight sound like that of a fiction author. Sometimes I have to take a second and stare at the page to remind myself that this novel is non-fiction and is written in third person.

        I also love how the pictures are incooperated into the plot so eloquently. Occasionally I’ll accidentally see a picture that’s coming up in a couple pages and wonder “what does that have to do with anything at this point in the story” but it always ends up being placed perfectly.

        What I think is an amazing quality found in Louie is his determination. The contrast between his personality in the first two chapters and that of the remainder of the first quarter of the novel. In the first two chapters, Louie seems like an inconsiderate trouble maker with no ambition. This assumption is soon proven incorrect when Pete coaches Louie in running. Louie never gives up under any circumstances, even when he could no longer train in the Olympics.

        Overall I think this book is really well written and I am super excited to read more and see what happens to the amazing Louie Zamperini.

  2. The second section of “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand has been extremely fast paced, invigorating, emotional and inspirational. If I was not so busy with other homework or extra curricular activities, I would sit down and read the entire novel in one sitting, because it truly is one of the most captivating pieces of literature I have ever laid my eyes upon.

    The most prominent factor in the book in my opinion is the strong characters and their astonishing will to survive. I am in awe with every turning page, and truly speechless about the lengths that Louie, Phil and Mac go to in order to stay alive. When the stranded soldiers quiz each other, it is an overwhelmingly clever tactic to stay sane and the intelligence of these people are shown to be superb. If I were to meet these characters, I have the utmost respect for them, so I would probably bow down to them because their stories are so unbelievably inspiring! Even after Mac dies, the other two men, Phil and Louie, somehow manage to stay strong and deal with the situation with such skill. It is nearly impossible to write my admiration down in words. This level of strength is not achievable by everyone, another reason why Louie, Phil and Mac are such unforgettable characters. This book is unlike any other World War II book I have ever read, and it made me reconsider my facts that I have learned previously.

    There are some pretty gruesome, yet incredibly detailed passages in this part of the book. When Hillenbrand describes some of the most powerful moments in the soldier’s survival story, like when Louie was attacked by lice, I can vividly see the image in my mind and it is almost as if I am there on the raft, struggling and surviving with him and his partners. “Louie was so famished that he went at [the bird] with his teeth, ripping the feathers loose and spitting them out in whuffs. Almost immediately, he felt a crawling sensation on his chin. The tern had been covered in lice, which were now hopping over his face” (158). This small section made me jump out of my seat as I was TA-ing for Mr. Oltmans; I could just feel the tickling of the lice and felt empathetic for the poor, bold characters; especially Louie, who was attacked by the lice.

    It is still a concept I am unable to grasp, about how Phil and Louie are able to survive after they are taken captive. I ask myself questions as I read, such as “Would I be able to survive this? Would I be able to persevere after being ridiculed? Would I still have the courage and strength to face the Japanese guards?” Being in a foreign country seems to be difficult enough, but being terrified at the same time seems impossible!

    I adore Laura Hillenbrand and her sensational story-telling skills. I am bubbling with excitement to read on about Louie and Phil’s adventures and encounters, negative or positive, in the third section of the riveting book.

  3. Julia, I could not have stated my feelings toward this book as a reader any better than you have! Hillenbrand’s writing has definitely escalated to reach a point where I cannot put the book down, which is odd for me. From chapters 14 to 17 I was drawn and locked into the story. In fact, two days ago in ACS, we had “reading” time and while everyone else talked with their friends I found myself wanting to keep flipping the page. I guess that shows how much I love this book.
    One character I would like to discuss is Mac. From the beginning of their journey lost at sea, Hillenbrand characterized him as a hopeless, desperate, and somewhat selfish character. When Mac ate all of the supplied chocolate bars, I lost respect for him. He continuously acted weak and did little to help Phil and Louie, even though they were in the same boat… literally. His attitude confirms that hope plays a HUGE role in survival and success because while Louie and Phil survived, Mac did not. This allowed me to appreciate Louie and Phil’s personalities even more.
    On page 135, the last page of the section, Hillenbrand wrote “All I see, [Louie] thought, is a dead body breathing”. This simple sentence holds magnificent power and images. The contrast between a dead body and a living action emphasizes the strength Louie had, being able to survive mentally while his body was dying.
    Even though it is a long novel, I am glad we are reading it. Although the circumstances are rare, Louie has become a role model for me, showing strength, hope, consideration, and intelligence during times of struggle. Hillenbrand is a talented author and I can see the work and research she has put into her masterpiece. I am extremely excited to bring this book with me and finish it during Spring Break.

    • Julia and Garland,

      You guys have perfectly captured my feelings toward this second part of the story. As I read the section, all the events occurring to these men felt like they took part in a movie made up of thousands of little cliffhangers throughout every scene. Laura Hillenbrand truly took this non-fiction story to a completely new innovative direction that not only gave information and facts about what happened during World War II, but did it in a way that made readers unable to put down the book. The events that took place in the story, such as when the men were trapped at sea, also provided a universal theme of perseverance and determination, two crucial aspects needed to survive in the world. As you guys both mentioned, I found myself enjoying this novel and even compromising my free time in order to read it because I was confident that every new page would hold another event that would help me realize things that I would have never thought of.

      Garland, I also think Mac is a character worthy to discuss. I think he not only played a role in the book as a character who was weak, but helped the storyline in contrasting his attitude to Louie and Phil’s. I think the author used him to show how strong and determined the other two men were, and give them a persona of being “unbroken.” Through Louie and Phil’s questioning games and experiences on the island, they have built up a mindset that they are unable to be taken down, no matter what happens to them. These two men would have no way to prepare for what happened to them, and reading how they coped with it and remained in a sane mentality, it really inspired me. From reading this part, I felt like with the positive mental mindset, one can accomplish anything.

      Overall, I think this section really set the book up for a good climax during the Japanese camps. I had never expected the second part of the book to exceed how interesting the first part was, as I am sure that the third section will do the same.

      • Wow. This book is insane. You three summarized my feelings towards the second half so well. It is truly amazing. Julia, I may have to agree with you that this is one of the most captivating pieces of literature I have every read.

        Hillenbrand’s forms of characterization, especially of Mac, so eloquently portray the three main soldiers as real people that I feel like I could just reach out and touch them. Honestly, as Garland said, I despised Mac while he was alive. Having him on the boat is like paying with a pound of pennies: decently valuable (considering he is a human being) but causes so many issues the value isn’t worth it. When he died, it seemed like the story got lighter even though it stayed just as dark and sad for Phil and Louie. Speaking of Phil and Louie, I greatly admire their courage and perseverance. They could easily throw themselves into the water and stop the struggle but instead they decide to fight, which is an amazing quality to have in my opinion.

        This story is so interesting and inspirational that I just want to keep reading. I definitely would if I was not so busy right now… good thing I have 32 hours in the car coming up Spring Break! Like you said, Erin, I am looking forward to a climactic section at the Japanese prison camp.

  4. Over Spring Break I surprised myself when I quickly finished the novel. I was excited to relax and read page after page of this book, which left me saying only one word: WOW. I’ll save the overall review for my next post, but now I’ll focus on a few highlights from this section.

    Hope, as well as perserverence, continued to remain a prominent theme. Almost all of Louie’s actions display hope and strength and Hillenbrand does a great job displaying that it is a reason for Louie’s survival. From turning down the offer to broadcast to taking the blow of 220 punches to risking his life to read the newspaper, strength was a part of Louie. However, not only Louie obtained hope, but his family and the captives did as well. I enjoyed reading about how the Zamperinis handled the few years and was pleased to hear they never lost hope. In addition, the unity of the POWs was a reason for their survival. As time progressed, it was evident that without teamwork and cooperation, many more would be dead.

    Another topic I want to point out is juxtaposition. The unity and strength of the POWs was heavily contrasted against the cruelty of the Japanese guards. Constantly cruel and yearning for power, the Japanese made life miserable for everyone, including themselves. In the end they lost the war and were humiliated. On the other hand, the POWs were living miserable lives, but won in the end due to their hope and unity. In simpler words, Hillenbrand contrasts the actions of the good guys vs. the bad guys.

    This section continually left me feeling proud to be American. As the POWs cheered as B-29s zoomed over their heads, I could feel the American pride captives had during the time. Overall, I immensely enjoyed this section and read it quickly. Every page drew me in and the last pages left me on a cliffhanger of the final week’s of war.

  5. Garland, I have one word for you; DITTO. Ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto. All you are saying corresponds EXACTLY with my thoughts. Although I did not finish the book, I too was shocked by how quickly I read this third section of the book on my road trip over Spring Break. All of Laura Hillenbrand’s marvelous storytelling techniques really drew me in and made “Unbroken” a truly unforgettable and engaging novel.

    This portion of the book was definitely less action filled than the previous section, but it was still extremely captivating and fast paced. With the help of Hillenbrand’s unique storytelling techniques, I felt as though I was following Louie Zamperini in every step of his journey, as I have mentioned in most of the blogs before this one. One of the ways the author excelled at telling the captives’ story is because she used allusions; by writing “a Herculean effort was put into clearing the sunken barge and bringing in a new one” (248), Laura Hillenbrand manifested such a deep effect that shed light on the struggles the POWs went through. Hercules, a Greek hero and the son of Zeus, was very strong, and so by comparing the prisoners of war to him, we get a feeling of how strong the characters are, even if it does not necessarily mean physical strength.

    Another technique the author brilliantly utilizes is giving some historical background as well as the narrative about Louie Zamperini’s life. She includes valuable information about several labor camps, goes in depth to talk about certain guards, and I find that very helpful as I read the book. When Hillenbrand wrote about commander Mutsuhiro Watanabe’s childhood and upbringing, I better understood his character and thus was able to empathize with Louie and other POWs who had to live under his cruel tyranny. This historical element was highlighted through other various parts of the book; the part where Hillenbrand wrote of the families of other fallen soldiers brought tears to my eyes, and I was fully enlightened about the circumstances that the families at home had to endure.

    “Unbroken” has forced me to reflect on my own life, as I assume it has caused you to Garland, and probably Sophia and Erin, too! When I read of the tragedies the characters in this novel had to go through, I realize how little my problems are. When my parents take my phone away, I feel horrible and distressed; but then I catch myself, and I think about Louie, and how he was taken from his family, and how he had to risk his life in order to get food secretly. The simple problem, of running out of mascara or lipstick instantly becomes minute when I think of Cecy Perry and Louise Zamperini, and how the loss of loved ones is much more severe of a problem. I am indebted to this book for opening my eyes up a little more, to see the world with a more down to earth perspective.

    I absolutely cannot wait to finish this book, and honestly do not know what I will do with myself once it is over! The next step is probably to watch the movie… Part 4, here I come.

    • Julia and Garland,
      I once again completely agree that reading this section went by way faster than I expected. On my plane, I found myself nonstop turning the pages as I soaked up every event that happened in these chapters. After finishing chapter 29, I was left staring at the next page in awe, unable to comprehend and process all my feelings. As I mentioned on my last post about how the title “Unbroken” suits the book, I think this section ultimately reflected how Louie is truly unbroken.

      Surviving through the torture at every single camp the Japanese put him through, Louie’s spirit is never broken, and quite frankly is impossible to be broken. After surviving 46 six days at sea parched and famished, abused by guards, and ultimately living in inhumane circumstances, Louie still finds some strength in himself to keep living. Garland, as you said, this reflects strength, perseverance, and hope. These three attributes are prominently portrayed throughout every event that Louie overcomes, but for example, these are shown when Louie is injured but still asks for work. Louie had torn something in his ankles and knees, and even when he is presented with the opportunity not to work, he still asks for it in order to receive the regular tiny portion of food. This act obviously shows strength in Louie’s physically and mental mentality, but it also clearly resembles perseverance and hope. Louie’s attitude of wanting to earn his food and persevering through all the hell that the camp puts them through, it shows that Louie still has hope that he can survive and overcome this torture when the war ends. Overall, Louie’s attitude and mentality through the unimaginably horrible treatment he had taught me a lesson that a positive mentality and unbroken spirit can help you overcome as many obstacles as you want.

      Going along with your comments of the author’s writing style, I find it truly amazing how Hillenbrand uses dramatic events in the places where it is needed. As I find myself reading facts (more like a story) and fascinated by the events that happened in the POW camps, something mind-blowing will happen, leaving me with a thousand thoughts in my head. While still trying to process such an event such as being punched in the face 220 times, the next few scenes are more informative and interesting; but right at the time when you want another exciting plot twist, the author has one right there. I have grown to love the juxtaposition and historical background you guys mentioned that Laura Hillenbrand uses, and everything perfectly comes together in this truly perfect book.

      Just by reading the first three sections, I have learned and experienced more life lessons that I have ever taken from a novel, and I am certain that the book will end on an amazing note. This book has brought me so many emotions that I have never experienced from reading the book, and all this ultimately leaves me to wanting to finish the book. Which actually is what I am going to do now:)

      • Ahhhhhhhhhh I love love love this book. This book is driving me crazy. I want to read more but at the same time I don’t want to ever read it because I don’t want to be that much closer to the end. Like we have all said every post since the beginning: it is intriguing, fast-paced, and eye opening.

        With every turn of the page I was hooked by Louie’s personality. However, what I love about this particular section is how evident it is that Louie’s willpower is contagious. Somehow, in one of the worst-case-scenarios possible, Louie manages to keep fighting despite awful conditions and nasty guards. This attitude and desire to survive obviously spread to Phil over the time they got so close in training and stranded at sea. Louie and (now) Phil’s determination to lead America to victory started rubbing off on their fellow POWs the second they arrived at the camp. Even though The Bird and the other Japanese guards treat the POWs as if they are worth less than a pile of horse poop, a large majority of POWs continue to listen to their orders. It would be easy for the POWs to simply refuse to work but they all know that means the officers would likely take their life so, despite starvation and exhaustion, they all choose to continually work. This characteristic is a phenomenal one to possess and spread around.

        As Garland mentioned, there is definitely a vivid contrast between the POWs and the Japanese officers. This contrast makes Louie and the Americans seem far more protagonistic than they might have been thought of by other countries during World War II. My pride for being an American is increased by these contrasting characters.

        I want to finish this captivating book yet I never want it to end. I love Unbroken so much that I don’t know if I will ever break from it’s trap of eloquent language, lovable characters, and intriguing action.

  6. Unbroken 9.5/10

    Although I prefer fiction over non-fiction, “Unbroken” has definitely become one of my favorite books. I definitely recommend this novel to anyone looking for an enjoyable, inspirational, and incredible story. Laura Hillenbrand dove into the life of Olympian and War Veteran Louie Zamperini, teaching the readers not only about his life but about WWII as well. How Hillenbrand fit his entire life into one novel without boring the audience amazes me and I admit that often times it was hard to put down the page (which as you know is pretty rare for me).

    Louie’s life is one that leaves readers introspective and feeling blessed to live how they do. He began his life as a troublesome child and eventually became a runner. Louie’s dream soon became to attend the summer Olympics in 1940. However, the war had started and Louie enrolled an airman serving his country. Thus started his life-changing struggles. After a dangerous incident, Louie found himself stranded in the middle of the sea, which led to his years as a Japanese Prisoner of war, where he was physically and mentally beaten. I do not want to reveal the ending, but I will add that Louie was one of the few to maintain hope during the rough times.

    Overall, I really enjoyed Unbroken. My favorite part were the first few days stranded at sea when Louie’s survival skills were tested and true colors were brought out. He thought creatively and brilliantly when dividing up the rations, suggesting constant singing and talking to avoid insanity, and changing Mac’s behavior. I admired both his and Phil’s hope and strength. I gave the novel a 9.5/10 because Hillenbrand is a strong writer and adds incredible detail, but the beginning chapters were slow. Overall, “Unbroken” is definitely an award-winning book in my eyes and truly deserves its recognition.

    • Unbroken: 9/10

      Unbroken is a novel of persistence, hope, and a true warrior. Louie Zamperini, the central character, leads an amazing life with his contagious attitude of positivity. Lauren Hillenbrand portrays the real character of Louie and his incredible story in a gorgeous literary light. This triumphant story follows an Olympian at war who finds himself in the middle of the ocean and later in a Japanese prison camp.

      What I found most interesting about “Unbroken” was that it is non-fiction. Louie Zamperini lead such a phenomenal life, he seems made up; also the real Zamperini died just last year at the age of NINETY-SEVEN. Not only was he an Olympic runner, American war-piolet (which he had an amazing talent for by the way), Prisoner of War camp survivor, and a human with incredibly inspiring perseverance, but he also lived to be almost 100. I wonder if there was anything that man was bad at…?

      I absolutely fell in love with every character in this book, except for the antagonized soldiers and guards obviously. The ONLY reason I rated it a 9/10 is because I felt as if the war scenes and the exposition were excessively dragged out and could occasionally seem repetitive; but I assume that is how Louie’s life felt while it was happening. Personally, I am not very interested in the physical part of war, I am more interested in the political and mental aspects of a war. This reason might be why I found the fighting to be excessively long.

      All in all, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good read that has a large amount of time on their hands. This book grabs attention as well as heart. There is so much meaty plot throughout Louie’s story that it takes a while to digest, I would not consider it to be a 1-5 day read. But I absolutely adored Louie Zamperini and his friend Phil. Louie is such an inspiring human with a beautiful story that is so eloquently perceived by Hillenbrand; 9/10.

  7. Unbroken: 9/10

    Unbroken is by far the most inspiring, yet informative novel I have ever read. When most people decide to read the book, they probably expect it to be all about World War Two, Japanese camps, or survival experiences, but to me, this book was a story of perseverance, strength, and a truly unbroken soul.
    To be honest, before I read the book I did not have high hopes for enjoying the novel, but after reading the first chapter, I was completely absorbed into every experience that happened in Louie Zamperini’s life.

    Louie Zamperini started out as just any typical boy, getting into any trouble that he could get his hands on. This boy had no hope, until he began running, the start of his incredible life. Right from the beginning, everyone knew Louie was something special; and throughout his Olympic running career, it wasn’t just about how gifted he was, but the thing that made him so special was his dedication to every task he completed. This dedication followed him throughout his days serving in the war, but more importantly, it carried him through the most difficult time any human being could imagine. Surviving through a plane crash and living 47 days at sea, Louie’s mentality was the one reliable thing to keep the crew men’s hope alive. Once they were found, they were immediately captured by the Japanese to their POW camps, undergoing the most painful and grueling days ever experienced. Throughout this journey, Louie never gave up hope, leading to a mind-blowing ending of the story. I won’t spoil that part (but it is truly amazing).

    While Louie went through these experiences, Laura Hillenbrand was not only able to portray how exceptional of a person Louie was, but was also able to give contextual history on the War and the camps. Throughout all the books I have read, I have never been so interested in a non-fiction book. The way the author writes every sentence has a way of turning it into something that makes the reader think about their own life, which I find incredible.

    Overall, I gave this book a 9/10 because it tells a story that I will forever carry with me. At times, the information about the planes and war may have been a little boring to me, but overall, this book is a novel that EVERYONE should read. It doesn’t matter if you are interesting in WWII or not, because this book is more than a book about war. To me, this book changed my perspective about life, and tells a story that is truly life-changing that everyone in the world should read.

  8. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand 9.5/10

    Laura Hillenbrand’s novel “Unbroken” is a tale of perseverance, strength, love, life, survival, and courage. Louie Zamperini, once a trouble-maker, bloomed into an acclaimed Olympian, entered into a perdition in Japan as a Prisoner of War (POW), flourished into a World War II Hero, sunk down to a drunkard, and then eventually was saved as a “new creation” (383). From page one to page 406, an incredible journey was mapped to bring tears and laughter to any audience who reads it.

    The theme of survival was a prominent theme in this captivating novel. What allowed Louie to survive was the hope that he would one day meet his loved ones again, which is a universal idea any human being can relate to. Louie had to be courageous to face the struggles in a POW camp, and this teaches the readers of this novel to be brave in any situation, for nothing is as hard as it seems. In this heart grasping story, one could see the characters on a constant teeter totter between life and death, and the love one has for life is highlighted when the harsh conditions and terrible tragedies are brutally described. The effect of all this story on any crowd is enlightening and mind-boggling, causing someone to feel blessed for the life they live.

    Unfortunately, there was a bit too much of technical explaining throughout every chapter. For readers like myself that are not especially fond about airplanes and different battle explanations, I found myself feeling bored and tired of the repetition, or what seemed to be repeating itself. However, the character development that surrounded this downfall overpowered the unfavorable retellings. Laura Hillenbrand did an exceptional job developing each character for the reader to fully feel empathetic for what they were going through, and feeling the pain of exultation that the character was feeling in times of sorrow, like when the captives were away, or in times of pure happiness, like when they came back.

    I suggest this book to any reader in high school because it is a fantastic way to learn about World War II in a more interesting way. In addition, it is a tear jerker for the ones who loves engaging fiction, while at the same time an inspiration for being non-fiction. This book deserves a 9.5/10 rating because of everything that was absolutely amazing about it, and it will be a favorite for a very long time.

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