Loved the story. I can't believe we were not taught about this gentlemen in high school. I grew up and went to high school Torrance and never had a clue why the private airport was named after him.
Near the top
The constant pace and the evolution that the story takes.
The story was so gripping at time I had to stop just to take in what had happen. Edward Herrman is always outstanding.
Yes - it's a very compelling book about how to achieve higher limits.
How he forgave his captors.
Emotion - great job with reader.
When he was reunited with his family.
A must read
The experience was enjoyable because there was a good balance between facts about the military (planes, etc) and information about the people. Edward Herrmann had a good pace for the narration- not too quick and not too slow.
Louis Zamperini was the "main" character of the story, but he is not my favorite. I do no like him when I first start reading the book. He breaks the law, and destroys many things.
This is my first book read by Edward Herrmann. I would listen to another one by him.
I think the scenes with Louis Zamperini's mother moved me the most. She seemed interesting.
Once in a while you come upon a story so incredible it just has to be told. This is the case with the story of Louis Zamperini's life, and Laura Hillenbrand does a magnificent job of telling it. Any one of the events of Louis' life would make a good tale, but for all of these to have happened to one man is simply amazing.
The first impressions Louis made were not good ones. He was overly mischievous from a young age, stealing any kind of food he could carry, getting in fights, playing pranks, smoking, and even drinking alcohol before he was 10. Had he continued on that path, we may never had heard about him. But his older brother Pete seemed to have a positive influence on him. Pete was a track star at Torrence High school (Torrence CA), and soon Louis turned all of his mischievous energy into the positive energy of training for track and field. Louis was a high school sensation, setting a national high school record in the mile run that would stand for decades. He was inching ever closer to the 4-minute mile, a feat that had up until then not been achieved.
After high school, Louis continued training. He had his sights set on the Olympics, and made the team in the 5000 meter race. The 1936 Olympics were held in Berlin, and Louis was able to meet Adolph Hitler and steal a Nazi flag. Although he did not earn a medal, he was confident he could do better in the 1940 games scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan. However, war broke out and the Olympics were cancelled.
Louis enlisted in the Army Air corps and was assigned the duties of bombardier on a B24 bomber. Louis survived several daring missions, most notably one in which his plane was riddled with some 600 bullet holes and saw more than half the crew seriously wounded. He was on the crew of a search and recue mission, looking for survivors of another B24, when on of his plane's engines went out and crashed into the Pacific ocean. One of only three to survive the crash, he made his way to the life raft safely.
Louis, along with pilot Alan Phillips (known as Phil), were the only two to survive the ordeal on the raft. Stranded without provisions of food and water, they remained on board the raft for 47 days and drifted nearly 2000 miles. They also survived the sharks constantly around their raft, some so aggressive as to try and jump aboard to get at the men. They also survived strafing by a Japanese plane and a typhoon with 40 foot waves. Finally, an island came into view and Louis and Phil thought their ordeal was over. Unfortunately the island was occupied by Japanese forces, and both men were taken prisoner.
Louis was sent to several Japanese prison camps, first on some of the Pacific islands and then on the Japanese mainland. He was able to survive for over two years of some of the most brutal conditions and harshest treatment known to man. Malnourished, denied medical attention for dysentery and beri-beri, and subjected to savage beatings on a near daily basis, Louis had the strength to persevere. After rescue and subsequent stay in an Army hospital, Louis was finally reunited with his family, who had never given up hope that he was alive.
Louis' journey was not yet over. He had nightmares from his wartime ordeals, mostly of the severe beatings he received from a particular Japanese guard known as the Bird. We now know this to be PTSD, but at the time the Army had no treatment available. Louis turned to alcohol and soon became a full fledged alcoholic. With the help of his wife and family, and a new found faith in God, Louis was able to survive his alcoholism, just as he survived all the other obstacles life had thrown at him.
Meticulously researched, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of Louis Zamperini's life in a way that is flowing and easy to read. Relying on journals, letters, unpublished memoirs, and hundreds of interviews, this is an example of truth being stranger than fiction. Taking a full 7 years to finish, Ms. Hillenbrand had to overcome some her own medical issues in order to bring us this incredible story. She is also responsible for the story of the race horse "Seabiscuit." Through it all, Louis was able to keep his sense of humor, and referring to Hillenbrand's previous novel, he told her that he would be an easier subject because "I can talk."