Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I just finished the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I just finished this one last night and I was so touched by it that I thought it would be perfect to do a review on right now. It is a little over 400 pages, but it is a great, easy read and I finished it in about 4 days. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is about a World War II Army Air Corp officer that is captured by the Japanese and taken as a Prisoner of War.

Unbroken starts with Louie Zamperini’s childhood and life growing up. He became an Olympic athlete in running the 5,000 meter, but was largely expected to break the 4 minute mile long before Roger Bannister did it. However, WWII came and his opportunity at the olympics was lost when they were cancelled. He then went into the war as a bombardier, flying in a monstrous aircraft at the time and dropping the bombs on his targets. Louie had several successful missions before being asked to run a rescue mission in a plane his crew was unfamiliar with. Two engines quit and they crashed into the Pacific ocean. Although he was tangled in wire and lost consciousness, he was still able to float to the top. He and two others floated for 47 days in the Pacific to a small set of islands occupied by the Japanese.

Unbroken then goes into his time as a POW and ultimately, his freedom when the Japanese admit defeat. However, the story is not over there as he has trouble dealing with his past and has some demons he has to fight. I don’t want to give away all the details here and spoil the book, so go get it now!

Unbroken is a little different book than I have reviewed before. However, it still provides a great message of survival, resilience and redemption – all qualities of leadership as well.

Two interesting parts from the book to share:

His brother Pete sent him an envelope while at the Olympics. Inside were two playing cards, an ace and a joker. On the joker, Pete had written, “Which are you going to be, the joker, which is another word for horse’s ass, or the TOPS: Ace of Spades. The best in the bunch. The highest in the deck, Take you choice!” On the ace he had written, “Let’s see you storm through as the best in the deck. If the joker does not appeal to you, throw it away and keep this for good luck. Pete.”

Which do you want to be? Are you leading like a joker, or the Ace of Spades? If your goal is the Ace of Spades, how are you going to get there? Another story is while he is in the Olympic race itself. He is not doing well and does not feel well. Then, this thought comes to mind.

“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. Louie thought, Let Go.” It is not always easy to let go of your challenges, overcome them and seek glory. However, it is worth it. What are you struggling with that you need to let go of?

We are so blessed to live in this fine country and at this time. We were put on earth to do great things. Stand tall and overcome whatever might be troubling you. In short, become UNBROKEN.