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February 1, 2013     Post-Gazette
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POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 1,2013 Page 5 BOO K REVlEIIV UNBROKEN A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption By Laura Hillenbrand 473 Pages This true story is about a remarkable man who lived five distinct lives. First, as an individual against society, second, as a successful long distance runner, third, as an Army officer lost at sea, fourth, as a mistreated Japanese POW, and fifth, a respected sports coach, after WWII. His name is Louis Silvie Zamperini, the son of Italian immigrants. He was 12 years old when he witnessed the ill-fated German dirigible Graf Zeppelin flying over his home in Torrance, Califor- nia. Eventually this led to his desire to fly. From his childhood Louie was difficult to handle, and uncontrol- lable. He had a fierce appe- tite. He stole food from homes and places of busi- ness. The only person he would listen to was his older brother Pete. Louie became a track star in high school. The need to race was a dominant factor in his life and took over his apparent opposition to soci- ety. He was a changed indi- vidual. Every- thing he did was aimed toward be- ing a top runner. He was well on his way to being an outstanding miler. Hillenbrand fills dozens of pages to elaborate on Louie's outstanding racing exper- tise, which includes his efforts to prepare for the Olympics in Berlin. His brother and his sister were convinced that Louie was capable of running the four- minute-mile. This ideal thinking was happening during the era of the renowned runner Jesse Owens. "As Louie worked through the summer of 1940, Amer- ica slid toward war." In early 1941 Louie joined the Army Air Force. Subsequently, Louie became an astute bombardier officer and be- came part of the crew for the issued B24 bomber; com- monly know as "The Flying Coffin" because it was plagued with mechanical problems. It is in this sec- tion of the book that Hillen- brand stirs the memory of the devastation of World War II, beginning with Pearl Harbor. Hillenbrand tells us that the airmen faced an impos- sible task. "... in WWII, 52,173 AAF men were killed in combat. Read this, %.. a Hard Cover Laura Hillenbrand author of Unbroken Pacific Bomber crewman's tour of duty had a 50 percent chance of being killed." The B24's were accident-prone. Hillenbrand writes about the horrible conditions the air- men faced once they ditched their injured airplane, such as roving sharks. Seldom were they rescued. The first half of the war was domi- nated by the agile Japanese airplanes. While on a rescue mission, Louie and his shipmates crashed into the sea..Before Published by Random House This true story is about a remarkable man who lived five distinct lives. His name is Louis Silvie Zamperini, the son of Italian immigrants. long, Louie realized it was more important to keep one's mind active than hav- ing food. The survivors related stories, Louie was able to recite his mother's recipes. On the forty-sixth day the haggard shipmates were rescued by a Japanese Patrol boat and treated with alternate care. At this point Louie weighed 80 Ibs, his fellow airman, Phil weighed 67 Ibs. Their emaciated bodies were difficult to behold. They were trans- ported to Execution Island whose despicable reputa- tion preceded it. They were treated miserably, and disrespectfully. Hillenbrand captures the essence of the airman's mindset. Knowing full well that death was approach- ing, the reality of their bur- den through their suffering should be coming to an end. Similar to other sections of her book she is capable to write in an encapsulated manner, that the reader will clearly understand the com- pelling drama. I have read many books that revealed the terrible ordeals our servicemen works for the consumer to prevent fraud and don. were subjected to. I cannot get over this abuse. Some- times I have to sit silently until my anger subsides. I will never forget. Once again they are moved to another dreaded prisoner- of-war-camp, Omori. It was here that Louie met his nemesis, Watanabe. He was a brutal individual who was feared by the prisoners as well as his fellow guards. Watanabe became fixated on Louie. He beat Louie daily. Reading and feeling about the constant abuse and degradation the POW's experienced, I find it difficult to understand how any of these unfortunate heroes ever made it. Finally some sense of relief was becoming evi- dent; from time to time B29's were flying overhead showering leaflets over the prison camps: This may be a good time to note the definitive photographs that outline this book and how grand and telling they are. They add credence to this unbelievable book. The following line is so significant, "In its rampage over the east, Japan had brought atro- city and death on a scale that staggers the imagination." "On the morning of Sep- tember 2, 1945, Japan signed its formal surrender. The Second World War was over." I found it incredible to read that some POW's forgave their sadistic and cruel captors. Louie who was lost in this post world war turned to the one redeeming qual- ity he cherished, distance running. He began training and subsequently clocked a mile in 4:18 minutes. During one of his historical runs he injured himself severely. "It was all over." His life became a shambles. In time Louie returns to Japan and visits Sugamo Prison, which held 850 former guards. Here he shook hands with the bewildered guards he remembers. Reading about the des- peration that this true hero lived through is dis- turbing and heart rend- ing. Hillenbrand's writing on how Louie fights back is engrossing and everlasti.ng. The following line lets the reader learn how far Louie had come after his devastat- ing experiences, "Coach Zamperini was so beloved that upon his retirement in 1977, he was feted by eight hundred people on the Queen Mary." This well written and richly researched book re- flects the life of a remark- able man. Don't miss it. Mt. Carmel Survivors Group to Hold Valentine Reunion by Sal Giarratani Former parishioners of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on Jove Street in East Boston, who have been in vigil since the Boston Archdiocese shuttered the church and parish back on October 12, 2004, are planning a Valentine Reunion on Saturday, February 94 from 7:00 pm until 11:00 pm at the Embassy Suites Hotel on Cottage Street. These Mt. Carmel Catholics have been meeting every Sunday since 2004 at I0:00 am for a communion service. First they met inside the shuttered church itself and after being locked out they started meeting across the street by the Padre Pio statue. During the cold months, a dcision was made to move the services inside the Embassy Suites until the spring brings back warmer days. If you are interested in attending the upcoming dinner party, please contact Steve at 617-828-7416. Remember, every Sunday at 10:00 am the communion service is held inside the Embassy Suites Hotel. INCOME TAX PREPARATION Financial Services Professional Tax Consultant Personal & Business Year Round Service M.P. & Co. TAX & FINANCIAL SERVICES GRACE PREVITE MAGOON, EA 617-569-0175 146 Maverick Street, East Boston, MA 02128 ESTABLISHED IN 1938 e-mail: gmagoon@aol.com CELEBRATING 75 YEARS IN BUSINESS i f LUCIA RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine 415 Hanover Street, Boston 61 7.367.2353 11 MountVernon Street, Winchester 781.729.0515 PPivote [=unction [00ooms fop anq Occasion Cris|ninq . Iilal Slow Babq Showe Billc]aq Bereavement, Etc. Donato Fraffaroli dnat @ luciabstn'cm www.luciaristorante.com