Student Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Image from

May 1943, Louis Zamperini and the rest of his crew were hurtling straight towards the waters of the Pacific Ocean, trapped inside the burning shell of a heavily damaged B-24 bomber. Seconds later, impact. Louis and the others in the crew fought to get another breath of air, untangling themselves from the coils of wires and escaping from shards of metal. Only Louis and two others survived.

So began the trials of Louis Zamperini. As a child, he was a mischievous boy, burglarizing homes, running away from his own home, and always getting into fights. As a teen, he transferred all his defiance into something new: running. He ran his way through high school, setting records, earning a scholarship to USC in track, and qualifing for the Berlin Olympics. A prodigy, Louis made headlines across the nation calling attention to the young man’s success. It wouldn’t last.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was at war. Headlines and spotlights shifted away from Zamperini and focused on the ever-growing conflict of World War II. The Oslo Olympics were cancelled, and Louis had nothing to run for. Within the next few weeks, Lieutenant Zamperini enlisted to serve in the Armed Forces, leading to his dire situation, floating at sea on a small raft.

Thousands of miles of water surrounded Louis and the two others that had survived. As the days at sea went by, the machine gunner of the plane wilted, and died. It was just Louis and the plane’s pilot, known as ‘Phil’, left. They knew that one of them was next. After 47 days in the open waters, they were on a ship, sailing to shore. But it wasn't the salvation they so dearly wanted; the ship flew the Japanese flag, and it was headed to a Prisoner of War camp.

Follow Louis on a true World War II story of suffering, perseverance, courage, and the quest to remain Unbreakable.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read. It is a very compelling story, and is written extremely well. It keeps the reader turning pages from beginning to end. The story in very inspiring as well, telling the tale of a man who has cheated death on countless occasions and persevered through the toughest of time to stay alive. It also educates the reader passively, taking the reader through the happenings of the war without boring them. It is a wonderful book, and is pretty much a must-read. You would like this book if you like… adventure and compelling stories. Also, it is a very inspirational book, and can certainly inspire you to persevere.

- Adithya, RRHS Student