By Laura Hillenbrand
I read a book about survival every once in a while. These things have an attraction but they usually spend so much time talking about the horrors the hero overcomes that they kind of get me down, at least while I’m in the midst of the story.
I was drawn to this one because it was written by Laura Hillenbrand who wrote the excellent Seabiscuit which became the excellent movie Seabiscuit. This is a story of survival at sea and in Japanese prisoner of war camps. It was billed as something more than the usual depressing narrative of all the horrors the hero overcame.
The story starts out good. Louis Zamerini is a troubled kid well on his way to being a life long loser till he gets into running. He is so gifted that he is a shoo in for Olympic champion when World War II breaks out. He winds up a bombardier and his plane crashes in the Pacific. He drifts in a life raft over 2000 miles and lands on a Japanese held island. He is passed from one prison camp to another till he winds up on the Japanese mainland. A great portion of the rest of the book is about the sufferings of him and his comrades till the end of the war.
This book has a surprise for us near the end that makes all the depressing things worth it. At least it was worth it for me. I highly recommend it.