After reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and 1984 by Orwell, I decided to try something different. I wanted to read something that didn’t have any political background or ideological current behind. I tipped myself with “Unbroken,” written by Laura Hillenbrand.
Written in a completely new style for me, this book is a mixture between a biography of the amazing life of Louis Zamperini and a tale of an –partly- unknown side of World War II : the life of the prisoners of war (POW’s) in Japan.
The tale of Mr.Zamperini is one of those that makes you believe in the American Dream. Louis Zamperini was a troublesome kid from an Italian immigrant family in the tiny town of Torrance, California. In his adolescence his life seemed to be heading straight to jail or death until his brother, Pete, encouraged him on running. Louis started running on his high school team and dedicated the same effort training that he did before in causing problem. He was talented and trained with military discipline, getting himself to the Olympic team that represented the US in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin; the last ones before World War II. His life was one of those examples that give sense to the American Dream.
With the outburst of the war in Europe and then with Pearl Harbor, Louis becomes part of the Aviation. As a bombardier he suffers a terrible crash that would lead him to some incredible events leaving him with the only goal of survival itself from the claws of hunger, thirst and the appetite of Sharks. This would only be the beginning of a history that goes beyond our imagination of what humans are capable of doing to survive and also the cruelty we bare inside ourselves.
The story of Mr. Zamperini takes us back in time and shows us through unimaginable conditions and situations that destroyed thousands of lives and took thousands more.
In WWII we usually hear from the darkness and terrors of the Nazi-Germany as well as the tortures of those who got into the hands of the Russian Army, but we tend to forget that Japan was in the war and that it didn’t only throw some bombs in Pearl Harbor and received two atomic bombs afterwards.
Japan, as well as the Nazis, believed in a superior race and were as cruel as the Germans were with the Jews or even more, but with the prisoners of war.
Fiction usually gets hold of our attention and makes us feel what we are reading as if we ourselves were part of the tale.
I assure you, the feeling is much stronger when you actually know that the story did happen. For once, reality can amaze you and drag you much more than any fiction could.
Unbroken shows us the wounds of War but also how there is no suffering strong enough to stop forgiveness and peace to settle itself.