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Don't Give Up, Don't Give in: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life Hardcover – November 18, 2014
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“A fitting capstone to the Zamperini legend. ... This valedictory book reflects the charm and colorful authority he brought to the world.” (USA Today)
“Not simply another rehashing of Zamperini’s incredible history, this second memoir, dictated to co-author Rensin during the last year of the author’s life, brims with sage wisdom, learned advice and fond observations from his adventurous 97 years. ... Inspirational.” (Kirkus)
“One of the most incredible American lives of the past century.” (People, on Louis Zamperini)
“Louis Zamperini is a modern miracle. His life reads like something out of a storybook.” (Billy Graham, on Louis Zamperini)
“Louis Zamperini’s life is a story that befits the greatness of the country he served.” (John McCain, on Louis Zamperini)
“An extraordinary hero.” (Publishers Weekly)
From the Back Cover
Completed just two days before Louis Zamperini's death at age 97, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In shares a lifetime of wisdom, insight, and humor from one of America's most inspiring lives. Zamperini's story has touched millions through Laura Hillenbrand's biography Unbroken, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie. Now, in his own words, Louis Zamperini reveals, with warmth and great charm, the essential values and lessons that sustained him throughout his remarkable journey.
He was a youthful troublemaker from California who turned his life around to become a 1936 Olympian and a world-class miler at the University of Southern California. Putting aside his superstar track career, Louis Zamperini volunteered for the army before Pearl Harbor and was thrust into the violent combat of World War II as a B-24 bombardier. While on a rescue mission, his plane went down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where he survived, against all odds, drifting two thousand miles in a small raft for forty-seven days. His struggle was only beginning: Zamperini was captured by the Japanese and, for more than two years, he courageously endured torture and psychological abuse in a series of prisoner-of-war camps. He returned home to face more dark hours, but in 1949 Zamperini's life was transformed by a spiritual rebirth that would guide him through the next sixty-five years of his long and happy life.
Cowritten with longtime collaborator David Rensin, Louis Zamperini's Don't Give Up, Don't Give In is an extraordinary last testament that captures the wisdom of a life lived to the fullest.
A son of Italian immigrants, Louis Zamperini (1917–2014) was a U.S. Olympic runner, World War II bombardier, and POW survivor. After the war, he returned to the United States to found the Victory Boys Camp for at-risk youth and became an inspirational speaker. Zamperini's story was told in his 2003 autobiography Devil at My Heels, as well as in Laura Hillenbrand's 2010 biography Unbroken.
David Rensin worked closely with Louis Zamperini for many years and cowrote Devil at My Heels, as well as fifteen other books, including five New York Times bestsellers.
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This book tells the various stories from his life, but with the purpose of illustrating points he wants to make to help people live better, happier, more positive lives. He never holds himself up as a paragon to emulate, but uses his stories to illustrate what he did wrong, what is possible, and how he found the right way and used that path to help others with the message that you can, too!
He talks about the focus, strength, and lessons that running gave his life and what appearing in the Olympics meant for him. He talks about the importance of being prepared for what life throws at you, because you won’t be able to anticipate it all. And you need a sense of humor, as well. A positive attitude each day will provide the power to get through dark times.
The lessons of his horrible war experiences are critical. He teaches about the power of not giving in, but also in learning to not hate. That hating is self-punishment and forgiveness is freeing and healing. The secret to life, he teaches us, isn’t the events or circumstances you have but your attitude towards them. After the war, he was still lost. But there is a way and an answer for everything. Of course, many times people will not accept the answer or follow the way. And then they mistakenly believe there aren’t answers and there is no way.
He ends the books with several beautiful chapters on how we can bless our lives by giving, what he’s learned, what he believes the Olympic Spirit is, and how he wants to be remembered and encourages us to have a charitable heart.
A very nice little book.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
"This second memoir, dictated to co-writer Rensin during the last year of the author’s life, brims with sage wisdom, learned advice and fond observations from his adventurous 97 years. Zamperini answers the most recurring questions asked of him during book signings and lectures, mostly pertaining to his adventures after his service in World War II, his secret to living honorably and what role his faith in God played. The author weaves practical advice into anecdotes on his parents, his troubled adolescence, his post-military spiritual connection with Billy Graham, and how his affinity for distance running on an Olympic level honed enough mental discipline to endure and survive the sadistic torture of a Japanese POW camp and the PTSD that followed. The author also provides robust wilderness survival tips, which saved his life while adrift on a life raft in the Pacific Ocean and during his service as a U.S. Army Air Force bombardier. Certainly, his counsel is often platitudinous (exercise forgiveness, challenge yourself, be positive, and give back), but it’s also inspirational, and his words will offer a reflective refresher course for those receptive to it. Never boastful yet full of prideful personality, Zamperini’s tireless zest manifested in his later years with speaking engagements and collaboration with the Angelina Jolie–produced film adaptation of Lauren Hillenbrand’s best-selling book Unbroken (2010), based on his astonishing, fruitful life. Stuffed with bolstering, life-affirmative reinforcement, Zamperini’s legacy lives on through words and film, embodied best by a photograph of the nonagenarian skillfully riding a skateboard."
How was now who are enjoying the freedoms earned and fought for won't even stand during the National Anthem, while other want to destroy a history that makes America today what it is. Yes discrimination does exist today but just remind us that.we must stand for the rights of all Americans. There are others who are trying desperately to remove God from our memories and whose answer is to remove "In God We Trust" from all systems that recognize him as the supreme being.
Shame on those who don't have enough "gumption" (a word dad used) to recognize that Jesus was not black or white. He lived and died for people in every "kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation" Shame on those who don't realize that strength comes from adversity. One of the greatest men in our history, Dr. Martin Luther King, believed this and preached it until on a season took his valuable life. True freedom is worth fighting for through peaceful and respectful means. It gives no man the right to destroy others property, or take innocent lives. Louis, my Dad, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, T.D. James and countless other true Americans preach and lived the true forgiveness leads us to true freedom and peace. Thank God for the men and women who lived, preached and taught all those willing to observe and listen. Many in America today are shamefully ignoring this great message. In the face of oppression many today shamefully disgrace our freedoms and choose to kneel and then their backs on the lives of those like Louis Zampernini who defended their beliefs even at the cost of their own lives.
Thank God He is a forgiving God. He knows America nor any other nation is perfect, hence the need for forgiveness. May God continue to extend His Mercy on the presence of this and future generations. Even those who disrespect Him in every way!
Louis's life should be required reading in Colleges and high schools across America. It is a testimony to all past, present, and future generations who believe what God has given us is worth respecting and should be willing to stand for right, rather than remain "willingly Ignorant" (St. Peter) of where we've been and what we can be when united, One Nation Under God.
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It challenges me to do more to help others in need of a fresh start.