Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is a story of triumph demonstrated through the endurance of a sensational christian leader and inspirational speaker named Louis Zamperini. The majority of the book is dedicated to the major events that occurred in his life. “Zamp” recently died, having lived 97 years. His life span took place between the years of 1917 and 2014 “Louie’s” experience on the earth serves as a symbol of hope for young boys because he persevered through a troubled childhood, war hardships, and posttraumatic stress disorder after sewing in the war.
Louie began his life as a troubled child who participated in mischievous endeavors such as stealing food from people‘s homes and participating in neighborhood fights with other boy. He was looked down on by the citizens of his hometown located in Torrance, CA in Los Angeles County. After beginning his life in a rebellious, rule-breaking state, he was commended into success through the training and encouragement offered by his well-liked brother Pete.
Years of practice resulted in Zamp’s victory as a world record setting and award-winning Olympic runner. When Zamperini broke the record of the 1932 Olympic 5000 in Berlin, Germany, Hitler regarded him as “the boy with the fast finish”. His complete transformation from a rebellious child to a successful athlete is a demonstration of his unwavering perseverance. What Louie learned as a troubled child would aid him in his war experience and inspire young men facing serious trials late in Louie’s life. As well as a world—renowned Olympic champion, Louie was also an American prisoner of war survivor.
He faced devastating measures of destitution, disease and mistreatment during World War II.
As Louie faced these inconceivable hardships as a Prisoner of War, he sacrificed resources and offered practical applications and encouragement to fellow American soldiers to help ensure their survival. When Louie’s crew experienced a plane crash and he and 2 men became castaways out at sea, Louie became a leader by conversing with the two men in order to keep the three of their minds and imaginations sharpened. “Within a few days of the crash, Louie began peppering the other two with questions on every conceivable subject”. He also planned out their survival by catching food for them and spending extensive amounts of time patching holes in the raft shared between them. After being castaways for 47 days, Louie and the man who survived with him, Phil, reached the Marshall Islands and were taken as prisoners by Japanese forces. Because Louie was well known in the Ofuna Interrogation Center as an Olympic athlete, he was forced to run foot races against Japanese competitors.
If he won, he was beaten with clubs. Due to his universal fame as an Olympian runner, Louie escaped execution by the Japanese forces. The Japanese media, however, targeted Louis as he struggled through one of the most desperately agonizing experiences in the history of the world as a prisoner of war Louie was sought out to become a propaganda tool for “Radio Tokyo”. They asked him to deliver a voice recording to his family for a radio broadcast, ensuring them that he was alive and well. The US had declared Louie dead, and in an attempt to temporarily escape the torment of the POW camp, Louie agreed to offer a voice recording based on his own script. He hoped that it would calm his family’s spirits to hear his voice and know that he was alive after the broadcast aired, the radio company was so pleased with his work that they offered Louie a safe place to live in Japan with pleasant food and fine care.
The obligation that Radio Tokyo required of Louie was to read a script that they had written, presenting Americans with false information. He was asked to tell Americans that Japan was caring for the POWs and all was well with them in the camps Louie refused to record such a broadcast, In order to honor his country, he was sent back to endure the harsh treatment given to American men in the POW camps. Louie’s refusal to broadcast false information about his country even when threatened to be taken back to the POW camp demonstrated the dedication that he had for his country. He chose to persevere through the harsh treatment in order to stay faithful to fellow Americans. The effects of the punishment that Louie received during this time in the war were horrendous because he suffered from PTSD after suffering severe psychological shock during his experience in several different POW camps in Japan, years after the war ended he was woke late in the evening to find himself.
lf strangling his wife while dreaming of attacking his former violent commander named Mutsuhiro, commonly referred to by the POWs in his camp as “the Bird‘K The Bird had set Louie apart from other American soldiers, targeting him brutally, specifically due to his American status and universal fame as an Olympic champion Louie faced close to daily beatings from the Bird, He was attacked with a variety of weapons at unexpected times and his life was threatened continually. Zamp and other American POWs were forced by the Bird to punch each other in the face multiple times Under the Bird‘s authority, Louie was given a six-foot-long wooden beam and ordered to hold it above his head, he was then threatened to be shot if he dropped the piece of wood Louie held the beam over his head for 37 minutes. Feelings of resentment toward and thoughts of revenge on Mitsuhiro consumed Louie‘s thoughts for many years after he returned to live in the United States. No amount of time caused the torturous encounters that Louie had faced with this harsh captor to escape his memory Forgiving the worst enemy that he would ever face was a struggle that took him years to finalize.
While the resentment welled up inside of him, he turned to alcohol as a source of comfort, neglecting the needs of his family. “All he had left was his alcohol and his resentment, the emotion that, Jean Amery would write, ‘nails every one of us onto the cross of his ruined past’”. After a long period of facing nightmares, alcohol addiction and ongoing feelings of resentment toward the Bird, Louie was able to grasp God‘s saving work in his life. Because his wife remained steadfast in her faith and convinced him to attend sermons given by Billy Graham, he was able to remember a prayer request that he had sent to God as he struggled to survive, while he was cast away in the ocean with his comrades.
His request was followed by a promise to serve God’s kingdom. At the time of being casted away, thirst began to overwhelm Louie and the two men who were with him on the raft, Louie prayed, “if God would quench their thirst, he’d dedicate his life to him”. After remembering his vow to god and affirming that the rain that god provided for the men after his request had saved them, Louie accepted Christ into his life, Immediately after his conversion, Louie returned home to dispose of the alcohol he had been relying on for years and began his eternal, in-step journey with God. He forgave his enemies, spread his testimony throughout America, and shared the gospel with young men by leading a nonprofit camp for young men lost boys on the road of misbehavior called Victory Boys Camp. “He showed them vocational films, living for the days when a boy would see a career depicted and whisper, ‘That‘s what I want to do!” In 1950, Louie returned to Japan, shook hands with and embraced his former camp guards from the war.
He wrote a letter to the Bird, assuring him that he had forgiven him and hoped he would become a Christian Louie also attempted to reunite home. With the Bird to speak with him in person, but this didn’t take place because the bird remained in hiding in the countryside of Japan and when found, refused to see Louie again. Because Louie was able to accept Christ and forgive his enemies, he was able to turn his life upside down and demonstrate an example of hope for boys who seemed to be on the same road that Louie had been on as a young adult. His perseverance inspired them to desire change in their lives and encouraged them to reach for their dreams. In the novel, Unbroken, Louis Zamperini, is used as God’s toolt He becomes an American sensation, displaying the true meaning of triumph in a season of severe difficulty. Louis Zamperini is a shining example of an overcomer whom the young boys from his camp remember as a man whom God did not forsake. Louie’s life serves as a reminder to the world that god does not forsake. His children when they experience difficult trials, but instead, he helps us to overcome trials of varying difficulty Zamperini was an American, christian sensation, leader, and tool of the Almighty God. God’s hand played the leading role throughout his entire life, helping him to overcome unbearably overwhelming desolation with endurance and tact.