Author: Lauren Hillenbrand
Publication Info: Random House (2010)
Summary/Review: This improbable true-life adventure tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner (who even met Hitler at the 1936 games, naturally) who goes to war in the South Pacific, survives a plane crash at sea, spends weeks adrift on a life raft (surviving strafing and shark attacks), and then is taken to a Japanese prisoner of war camp. There due to his fame as an athlete he is singled out for abuse by the cruel commandant. Historically, this book illustrates a level of cruelty of World War II era Japanese that I’d previously not been familiar with. This book is a stunning depiction of survival against unrelenting attacks on the human body and psyche. It’s also a story of forgiveness and reconciliation.