I received this book as part of a fun “book and chocolate” swap through an awesome Facebook group called The Book Drunkard. Thanks, Raquel!
I’ve been wanting to read this book even since its publication was announced. I’ve admired Laura Hillenbrand since reading Seabiscuit: An American Legend.
One thing I figured out quickly: This is a really long book! It’s nearly 500 pages. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because Hillenbrand is incredibly detailed and well-researched. However, that’s one of the big reasons why it took me so long to finish it!
I’d heard about Louis “Louie” Zamperini through news reports, and press about the book (2010) and movie adaptation (2014). A sequel was released in 2018.
It’s jam-packed with details, beginning with Louie’s early life and Italian family in Torrance, California. I enjoyed learning about his life, his running career, and then him being thrust into the Pacific theater of World War II. He was a prisoner of war (POW) for several years, and reading about his life in Japanese camps was utterly horrifying.
Everyone should know Louie’s story, along with the other brave men he served with. I know I wouldn’t have the guts to fly the unreliable planes and dangerous missions.
This was a tough read for me. I’ve always enjoyed reading and learning about World War II, but I’ve always “done better” with fictional accounts. It’s been good for me to read more non-fiction and biographies over the years, but reading about Louie and the other men was more painful and difficult than I originally expected.
I don’t want to criticize Hillenbrand. I think this book is really good, and the research she did shines through. The list of acknowledgments at the end is profound!
But, I was not expected the length it would take for me to finish this book. I felt frustrated at times, only able to get through one chapter, and then finding 2-3 days passing before picking it up again. I was able to read more than 150 pages when we visited the farm in the middle of July, which was great, but that’s where I noticed this book takes significant concentration and emotional investment.
4 out of 5 stars.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂