Friday, August 12, 2011
This is a story about a man, Louis Zamperini, who, as a young boy, seems to be heading down the wrong path in life. He gets in trouble every time he turns around.
It starts out in the early 20's. His Italian family has migrated over to America from Italy. They are living in Torrance CA and trying hard to make ends meet.
Louie, as he is called, steals food from neighbors and gets in fights with anyone who upsets him. The law is right on his heals.
His older brother, Pete, is the complete opposite of him. He is a good kid, who helps everyone and is loved by all.
Pete finally helps Louie to get involved in running as a way to get focused. Louie soon starts breaking all records and finds that he loves running.
He finds his way to the 1936 Olympics in Germany and impresses Hitler, who summons him over to shake his hand.
While Louie doesn't win a metal, he is sure he will be able to in 1940 and is willing to train as hard as he needs to in order to get there.
Yet, life has other plans for Louie and World War II breaks out.
Louie signs up to fight for his Country and soon is part of a team flying bomber planes. Until that fateful day when he is shot down into the Pacific.
He must find a way to survive floating on a raft while he is being attacked daily by sharks, has no food and very little water.
After making it for 47 days and barley alive, the raft finely comes upon land. Just when Louie and his buddy thinks they are going to be saved, they find out they are on an island that is occupied by Japan.
They are taken hostage and become POW's.
Louie has been through it all, poverty, humiliation, beatings, starvation and mind games, yet he somehow finds a way to survive.
As you read this book can't help but think to yourself that the author has gone a little over board with placing the hero is so many life threatening situations that it becomes far fetched.
Then you remember, this is a TRUE story. None of it is made up. Everything is based on facts and all the information came from historic records, people who knew Louie and Louie himself.
You may be thinking this review gives the whole story away. You are wrong. All this information is just the tip of the iceberg.
The real story is not just what happens to Louie but how he somehow manages to survive it all...or does he?
I wasn't sure if I would really enjoy the book since I figured all the military and talk of war could get to be a bit to much.
It doesn't. It makes this book a fantastic read.
This is a story of a true American Hero. We can all learn a lesson from Louie.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good book. Just beware, once you start to read this book, you will NOT want to put it down.
For over 50 years, Hollywood has been trying to make this story into a movie. For one reason or another they have not been able to do so. However, I hear they are once again in talks and are hoping to start filming soon.
If you do read this (or if you already have) let me know what you think of it.