Laura Hildebrand – Unbroken

March 18, 2017

So am I broken, or did I just not get it?

Louis Zamperini was an amazing guy, and his story is truly remarkable. Nevertheless, in my opinion, this book would never make a bestseller, let alone a top 100 list, if readers were a bit more demanding.

Don’t get me wrong. Laura did a wonderful job and spent a lot of time collecting information about the typical American hero. And she put it quite nicely (though it could be done better), and some passages, like when Louis encounters a moment of magic and revelation on the ocean, which (he believed) was a sign from God, you may struggle to hold back the tears.

Nevertheless, I can’t avoid thinking that the book is excessively long, and many part are boring. And there’s something more why I just don’t like it.

 

Childhood and lot of useless information

You can definitely get bored to death until the action starts. I’m in no way interested in a child of an American kid, how he stole stuff, made problems in school, and all the rest. Then his athletic career, which makes somehow sense, but could be easily crammed in one page instead of twenty.

Louis is not broken, but I am after the first part of the book…. broken with disappointment.

 

War, fight, capture, prison

The book starts to be interesting in the middle, when Zamperini’s plane crashes in the Pacific, and he spends countless days sailing the ocean, waiting for the rescue. The rescue eventually arrives, but instead of being truly rescued, Luis gets into the hands of Japanese soldiers who treat him badly.

The way Zamperini handles his destiny, doing his best to remain ‘a man’ despite all the suffering, is truly inspiring and definitely forms the best part of his story–and the only part worth reading. Even an old gringo like me enjoyed that part, and held his fingers for the young hero to survive his ordeal.

 

War veterans – are they really heroes?

Nevertheless, I am pacifist. And I am dead tired with this American mentality that puts war veterans at pedestal, making them heroes. They even celebrate the veteran day…. what a shame.

For me, hero is not a person who goes and fights the ‘enemy’, and it doesn’t matter whether he just passes an ‘ordinary’ time in the battlefield, or meet an extraordinary destiny like Zamperini.

Oppositely, the hero is a person who refuses going to war, and prefers to face imprisonment to going and killing (or take part on killing) other human beings. Zamperini is no hero–he’s just a man who went to kill other men, and unfortunately was even proud of doing so.

 

After all, book publishing is a business

Then, many years after, everything turns out exactly as it always does in the United States — they make him a hero, write a book, make a movie, and other young sheep will follow in his steps to the army. To go and kill the yellow men, as Brute nicely put it.

In all honesty I wished this book had never been written, or published. And I do not recommend you reading it. You don’t like that opinion? Well, read the disclaimer, and then get a hell out of my blog :).

 

 

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