Unbroken

Laura Hillenbrand

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Summary

The tale of Unbroken follows Louie Zamperini, an Italian boy from California. However, Louie's story is inspirational, and even incredible. In a span of roughly 15 years, Louie sets more than a few records in high school track. He runs in the Olympics, and records the fastest lap in history. He gets drafted into the air force, and crash lands in the Pacific. He survives for 47 days on a life raft. He gets sent to a Japanese POW camp, and lives there for 2 years until the war ends. All in all Louie's story depicts courage, and unbelievable toughness in the face of adversity.

Louie's Running Career

Louie had a rough, and troublesome childhood. He was infamous for starting brawls, stealing, and drinking underage. He was ultimately setting himself on a rugged path, which would lead him to places like jail, or the streets. However, his talented, and successful brother saw something in Louie, a talent. Louie's talent of running had been overlooked due to his reputation of being a rebel, and a poorly-behaved boy. Pete, Louie's brother, started training Louie for hours on end, shaping Louie into an amazing track athlete. In high school, Louie soared to heights nobody had imagined. He set a world record for the high school mile, with 4 minutes and 21 seconds, earning himself a scholarship to USC in southern California.


In 1936, Louie made the decision to run in the Olympics. Instead of running his usual mile, Louie ran in the 5,000 meter event. Louie's neck-and-neck finish with Don Lash for first in the Olympic qualifier easily positioned him on the Olympic team. Even though Don Lash and Louie finished first and second in their qualifier, neither was believed to have even a minimal shot at winning the event. At the finish line, Louie placed eighth, though not ideal, Louie recorded the fastest lap in Olympic history.


After the Olympics, Louie returned to USC, where he continued to demolish his competition, eventually running the fastest collegiate mile ever, in 4 minutes and 8 seconds. Louie's incredible speed gave himself the nickname of the "Torrance Tornado", after his hometown of Torrance, California. Louie was on pace to break the 4 minute mile mark, but, his enlistment cut that dream short. Even though Louie was one of the greatest track athletes in his time, he never fulfilled the aspiration of breaking that near impossible record.

Characters

The Air Force, and Crash Landings During WWII

During WWII, most Air Force servicemen had unlucky odds at survival. During their service, more Air Force men would have died from crash landings, and malfunctions in the plane, than in battle. And if you were lucky enough to survive a crash landing, it was nearly impossible that a search plane would find you.


On Louie's particular plane, the survival kit merely consisted of chocolate, a few canteens, a patching kit, and a fishing rod and hook. This pathetic "survival kit", gave stranded soldiers minute chances of surviving. Another factor that played into the survival of soldiers was nature and its inhabitants. Shark attacks not only took the lives of crash victims, but struck fear into the hearts of servicemen living on such rafts. In the end, hundreds and hundreds of Servicemen died from incidents, much like Louie's. Although, many were not as lucky.

Laura Hillenbrand

Laura Hillenbrand is a world-renowned author, and publisher of magazine articles. Laura's first critically-acclaimed book was Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Which won multiple awards, such as the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. Laura followed up this great success with Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Which achieved amazing reviews, as Seabiscuit did. All in all, Laura Hillenbrand is an exceptional writer, and she possesses a knack for inspiring others.