Book note: Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini’s traumatic WWII experiences and survival


Just finished Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (Random House, 2010). She tells the story of Louis Zamperini’s early life (which depicts the miracle of his surviving childhood and his own juvenile delinquency) leading up to his Olympic experiences in Berlin and then his airmen experiences in the Pacific. In May, 1943, while looking for another plane that didn’t return to base, Zamperini’s plane goes down in the middle of the South Pacific. Against the odds, he and 2 others survived.

Actually, the miracle that he survived could be said about his entire life: impoverished immigrant family, juvenile delinquency, being an Airmen, surviving a plane crash in the middle of the Pacific, surviving on a flimsy raft for 47 days without any food or water other than rain or raw fish here and there, surviving torture by the Japanese for a couple of years and then, finally, surviving PTSD and accompanying alcoholism.

Read the book of you are interested in the life of airmen in WWII (it is amazing how many died in noncombat crashes). Read the book if you are interested in hearing how psychological trauma from war and torture often impacts a person. Read the book if you like surprising endings.

1 Comment

Filed under Good Books, ptsd, trauma, Uncategorized

One response to “Book note: Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini’s traumatic WWII experiences and survival

  1. D. Stevenson

    I’m currently listening to this book on tape and am at the part where he is a POW near Tokyo. From this glimpse into the traumas of military life (granted, his were at the extreme end) and glimpses I have from those I know personally, one thought I have is that it is amazing how many of our military do NOT have PTSD. (at the level of a disorder) I expect all probably experience some level of post-traumatic stress, even if only minor.

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