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on November 3, 2017
A VERY well-written story about Louis Zamperini and factual information about his plight. I was very impressed with the almost 70 pages of notes and sources at the end of the book. It is very clear that the author, Laura Hillenbrand did more than homework to complete this book. It had been recommended to me and I am recommending it to others who want to know more about Zamperini, as well as details about WWII history in aviation.
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on August 22, 2015
Absolutely an eye opener, thrilling heart-wrenching story. You can actually feel the victory and the suffering that went on in Louie's life as well as all the other men. As you are reading you just want to reach out and help... I am not one for reading but I couldn't put this book down. I will not go and see the movie as I have heard it's nothing like the book.... The photos that are included in the book are amazing and gives you more of a sense of what these guys had to endure and what kind of monsters actually were running Japan and the POW camps. I wish I was able to talk to the men that have served during WWII and be able to thank them for what all they have done....
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on August 7, 2014
I really enjoyed this book as it showed the courage of Louis Zamperini. It seems that Louis just couldn't catch a break in his life. He went from Europe and nearly shot by Nazi guards for stealing a souvenir of his time at the Berlin Olympics to the Pacific Ocean where Louis crashed, spent 40+ days on a raft held together by little more than a prayer to be captured and tortured by the Japanese.

It sounds like fiction, it reads like fiction but it's straight out the true story of Louis Zamperini. Life IS stranger than fiction and some stories successfully relay that. At nearly 500 pages in hardback, it looks daunting. However, it's as fast a read as they come.
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on June 30, 2017
Absolutely one of the best books I've EVER read in my life. Awesome story. Extraordinarily well written. Grabs you and keeps your attention. Not a boring page in it! Awesome lessons for life. Great message. I downloaded audio synchronized with the text ("Whispersync"). The narrator for the audio is absolutely tops. Love the functionality of the Amazon Kindle book, being able to flip back and forth from reading to listening, accessing footnotes, flipping back and forth and going anywhere in the book and getting right back to where you want to be. I wish EVERY high school student and older in America would read this book! Awesome!
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on April 10, 2015
I love this book. Such an amazing and captivating story of redemption and captured so well by Hillenbrand. A story of tenacity, resilience and perseverance in the worst of circumstances and an example of the crazy limits of human ability -- but the most amazing part of the story is the healing the Lord provided following unbelievable trauma, abuse, and PTSD . I had no idea this book talked about the impact of Louie's faith and the transformation that God caused in an extremely (and understandably) bitter and damaged man's life - but it is ultimately what saved him. This book is riveting, gripping, impossible to put down, and such a testament to God's power
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on October 13, 2011
Wonderful book by a truly gifted author. The book tells a story that is filled with hope and despair, joy and sorrow, maltreatment and forgiveness.

Like American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy and Salt In Our Blood: The Memoir of a Fisherman's Wife, this is a difficult read - and not just because of the subject matter. The story is so well written, and the historical figures are so well developed, I felt as though I'd known them all my life; and deep inside I wished with all my heart that each of them would survive and live healthy, happy lives. I knew this wouldn't happen, but still my heart hoped. So with the loss of each person, my heart hurt and I would cry. Still I read on - I had to for the future of others was still waiting for me.

My stomach would churn as I read about the POW camps and the treatment of these heroes. I find it strange that the world has long focused on the horrors of the Nazi POW camps and Jewish concentration camps of WWII, yet little is said about the horrors of the Japanese POW camps of WWII. Having heard Kay Friederichsen speak at a woman's retreat, I'd already heard about the treatment of some people in Japanese camps; but never did I dream it was worse than what Kay had shared. I hurt as I read the story of Louie in the camps. I hurt as I read the story of Louie once he returned home and he let his life fall apart. While I can see the reasons for his emotional pain, there were times when I wanted to find him and shake him.

Then I read about Louie's salvation. As I got to the paragraph where Billy Graham extends a personal invitation to Louie I remembered all those nights that my family sat and listened to Billy Graham (TV and radio). How often I heard him say something so similar. I remembered my dad telling about the night he went forward. I remembered the teen crusade I attended and how my heart longed for the peace of Christ. As I read the words, " `This is it,' said Graham. `God has spoken to you. You come on.' ", my heart rejoiced. The horrors shared in the book washed away. The sadness and despair lifted from my shoulders and I rejoiced. Louie had finally found the joy and love he had so long sought.

What a testimony his life is. Would I find it in my heart to forgive as he has? I'm not sure I would. I've faced far less in my life and have had a hard time letting go of the bitterness.

How often in life we fail to see that God is polishing us, and preparing us for what is ahead. For surely He knows our future and what we will face. He knows how we will fail, yet He loves us still and stands with us -- holding us up when we don't even realize it. Just as He loved Louie and held him up.

Such a wonderful book. One that has renewed the joy within my heart.
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on December 21, 2014
This is an amazing story of Louis Zamperini, who went from being a U.S. Olympic hopeful to a U.S. POW during WWII. The humiliation and loss of dignity he suffered during his imprisonment is shocking and heartbreaking, but this is also a tale of the redemption of Jesus Christ and the change that comes with salvation. Zamperini comes back an angry shell of a man but after accepting Jesus as his Savior at a Billy Graham Crusade he learns to forgive his captives and spreads the gospel to others. This book is a modern-day telling of the story of Joseph in that what others meant for harm, God again used for good! Romans 8:28!
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on December 25, 2014
This is not an easy story to read. It is long, full of terrible things (war is never pretty), but ends beautifully with forgiveness. There were lots of times that I wanted to put this book down and not read anymore. Louie was absolutely amazing and he wasn't the inky amazing person! I'm so glad that I also got to know Phil and Pete and the many others that lived through some incredible experiences as well. This is not a book that I'll read again, because it's a part if me now. This is not a book for the faint hearted. There is swearing, violence, talk of pornography and sex. But, through this book they all live on.
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on May 17, 2017
Absolutely fascinating. I'm floored by this story every time I think about it. It's just unimaginable. Best book I've read in a very long time. My wife is not a big reader but I made her read it. Once she got into it she couldn't put it down either. Was fun to talk about it with her and share the experience together.
I've shared our copy quite a few times.
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on February 28, 2015
I saw the movie, but heard only half the story had been presented and friends encouraged me to read this book. Bless them. This was one of the best, well-written book I've ever read. Hillenbrand's descriptions present a full picture of the horrors of war in such a way I could almost smell the smells and feel the cold, pain and suffering those brave men experienced. War, as Churchill said, is hell...and this book documents that well. But one of the parts I enjoyed the most...and would have missed if I relied on the movie...was Louie's miraculous change when he discovered Billy Graham and met Jesus. That's the ending that makes this book...and Louie's story...so sweet.
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