Unbroken: AP History Book Review

Unbroken: AP History Book Review

Jenna Wylie, Senior Staff Writer

Many stories have been passed down from those who fought in World War II. From this critical war sprang countless tales of bravery, determination, and strength previously unheard of in those times. Within all of these memorable tales lies one in particular – a story of humble beginnings, Olympic Games, and American heroism. The book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand tells this extraordinarily true story of a man named Louie Zamperini.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is as involved as its title suggests. Even as this book is a World War II autobiographical account, Zamperini’s story begins much sooner than the war began. It opens with Louie’s upbringings from his small hometown of Torrance, California. As his rebellious childhood years transitioned into his teens, Louie takes up track and excels. Winning race after race, Louie manages to compete with the greats as he advances to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The world conflicts however, take a drastic turn for the worst – causing Louie’s world to be rocked as well. World War II was in full force, and Louie found himself in the Army Air Corps as a bombardier, completing air strikes in the Pacific against one of America’s ruthless enemies – Japan

Completing air strikes and search and rescue missions made the possibility of danger and death apparent to Louie Zamperini and the rest of his crew. These fears were realized when Louie’s plane crashed into the Pacific – killing most of his crew. Unbroken details the events after this crash, including Louie’s drifting on a life-raft for weeks upon weeks, Japan’s cruel POW camps, surviving the threat of a malicious Japanese guard, and finally how keeping hope keeps one alive.

Unbroken is beautifully crafted and detailed to clearly tell the autobiographical story of Louie Zamperini and the American conflicts with Japan during WWII. Laura Hillenbrand constructs the book in such a way that the reader can relate and understand Louie as well as his friends and family. Unbroken is magnificent, inspiring, and deserving of endless praise and recommendations.

As one of the book choices for AP US History’s summer reading assignments, Unbroken was a favorite among students who read it. AP US History student Brenden Candella strongly recommends it claiming that Unbroken was “probably one of my top three (books) I’ve ever read!” Unbroken is also a favorite for AP US History student Emma Hetson who says she “could not put it down. Incredible from beginning to end.”

This writer certainly would recommend Unbroken as well and encourages anyone taking AP US History to choose this novel in particular – and for those who are not taking the class in the future, Unbroken is an engaging and commendable choice whether required or selected voluntarily.