“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship can hold a man’s soul in his body long past the point at which the body would have surrendered it. The loss of it can carry a man off as surely as thirst, hunger, exposure, and asphyxiation, and with greater cruelty.”
Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken
Like many kids, I used to stay up well past my bedtime, flashlight in hand, reading something I just couldn’t stop. Homework and college put an end to that habit, and I’ve spent the past couple months post-graduation trying to recover some of that interest. When I checked out Unbroken, I wasn’t expecting to find a page-turner that I couldn’t put down, chapter after chapter. That’s what I got, though.
Author Laura Hillenbrand (well-known for writing Seabiscuit, which I haven’t read) tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, troublemaking boy turned Olympic runner turned World War 2 bombardier turned prisoner of war turned…well, I don’t want to give the whole thing away. It’s a story that would be unbelievable if it weren’t for the 40 pages of citations at the end of the book (and the numerous photographs throughout).
It’s an incredible story of determination and dignity, with a fair bit of humor thrown in. I read the entire thing in two sittings, and despite the satisfying ending, found myself wishing it were longer. Highly, highly recommended.