When I picked up Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand I knew it would be a difficult read. My Dutch father-in-law spent 3 years of his life in a Japanese Internment Camp and as I read I couldn’t help but imagine his twelve year old face amongst the men being tortured at the camps written about in this book. In the chapters that discussed the war I also thought of my 95-year-old grandfather who fought in Iwo Jima and seldomly discusses all that he saw and did during World War II. I am a person who walks this earth with an open heart and I have a tough time separating myself and my emotions from the heavier things I read about and watch on TV. As I read this book I felt the wind rush out my lungs as I was reminded of how many times throughout history we as a civilization have hurt and tortured each other over differences in territories, religion, and ethnicity. World War II was a terrible time in our history. We read about and discuss all that transpired in the concentration camps but less frequently do we hear about the Prisoner of War camps and those who lived there, died there, or if they were lucky survived. This book uses a micro-lens to focus on the plight of POW Louis Zamperini. Rarely have I read of anyone more brave or selfless. Zamperini passed away last July and my heart breaks to know he is no longer around to tell his story in person.
I love novels and don’t often gravitate towards reading non-fiction. Reading this book reminded me that I need to pay more attention to the true stories. The stories of heroism and bravery. We as Americans need to think more about the greatest generation and all that they did to secure our freedom. You walk away from this read believing in the unbreakable human spirit. I realized how vitally important friends and family are to ones will to survive. And I was reminded that no matter how bad my day may seem – chances are there is someone out there in the world who is being persecuted far worse than I could ever imagine. This book is a great gift for Father’s Day which is just around the corner and an important read for all of us.