Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Like/Don't Like: Like, if only to learn that you should never go to war against the Japanese.
You should read this book, because it's a ridiculously good story told by an amazing writer and you'll be so grateful that you have never 1.) been lost at see for 40+ days, 2.) been captured by the Japanese and put into a POW camp, 3.) what, you need more to be grateful for than that?
It's the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic mile runner and WWII vet whose plane went down in the Pacific, which he and a fellow crewman survived, only for the current to sweep them right into enemy territory. You will want to shut the book when you get to the part about all the torture they went through in those camps. Those Japanese were hard core when it came to brutality. There were several times I had to shut the book and breathe slowly and imagine fields of daisies because it was just so horrific. But it is a testament to how resilient the human spirit is.
And I have to give it up to the author. Laura Hillenbrand wrote Seabiscuit and I was floored by how much a story about a horse sucked me in. So I wasn't surprised by what a gripping story-teller she is. I generally stay away from non-fiction because all I really care about is a good story told well and most non-fiction writers have the good story but forget that they are not in a lecture hall. Hillenbrand moves things along and gives you just enough facts and data to keep you feeling like you're actually learning something while being entertained.
And if none of that has piqued your interest you should know that somewhere in the south Pacific, while they're floating along, exhausted and starving, Louis decides to get even with the sharks who have been stalking them the whole time. So he kills one with his bare hands.