Louie Zamperini was a trouble maker as a boy, headed down the wrong track until his brother introduced him to running. He was famous during his time at USC before heading off for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He placed 7th, met Hitler, and even stole a Nazi flag from the Reich Chancellery.
Louie had his heart set on the 1940 Olympics, where he knew the gold medal would be within his reach. Those Olympics were moved from Tokyo to Helsinki because the Japanese government decided they could no longer support the Olympics. When the Helsinki Olympic Stadium was destroyed in bombing raids, the 1940 Summer Olympics were canceled altogether.
Louie found himself in the Army Air Force as a bombardier, and while stationed in Oahu, was engaged in the fight over Nauru. His plane made it back to base with 594 holes in it, and one crew member receiving fatal injuries.
A few weeks later, the remaining crew members were given replacement crew and sent out on a search and rescue mission. It was this mission that was the start of Louie's incredible journey to get back home.
Unbroken is an epic story that every American should read. When you've finished this book, go find yourself a veteran, hug them, kiss them, and thank them for all they've sacrificed for you. Then, hug and kiss your family, and fully appreciate how lucky you really are.
Up Next: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Magician's Nephew