Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Once David and I moved onto the second part of our vacation, I began this next book.

Not too long ago I had reviewed Laura Hillenbrand's first book, Seabiscuit.  For that review, simply click here.  I had really enjoyed Hillenbrand's writing style and so, the next time I went to the local used book store and noticed her newest book on the shelf, I grabbed it.  It's been on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks and I thought this would be an excellent book for David and I to read on vacation.  It was actually my first choice for the road trip even though we read it second.

This book was kind of an odd pairing with our previous read, but we managed.  For me (and David also), it was kind of hard reading two depressing books right after the other.  But, I explained to David that when you are only willing to read non-fiction, that's happens quite a bit.  It's one of the reasons I have the systematic reading schedule I throw some fluff in there to break up all the seriousness.

So, while visiting HUGE sequoia trees in Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks we read the biographical story of Louis Zamperini.

(David and an uprooted sequoia)

(me and one of the many sequoias we saw)

The premise of Zamperini's story revolves around his life and experiences within the military.  He was a bombardier and ended up serving during World War II.  While on a mission to recover a plane's crew that went missing, Zamperini's own plane malfunctions and falls from the sky.  Only three men from the plane survive the crash and the first quarter of this book entails the horrors of trying to survive on two tiny life rafts in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

I will admit that there are parts within this section of the book that are kind of unbelievable.  In fact, I looked at David at one point and said that I hoped more than Louis survived to tell this story because it sounded a bit much.  And I will say that at least one other man survived to tell this tale...and both told the same story.  Pretty remarkable.  You know that old saying, "stranger than fiction?"  Yea, this is a perfect example; you couldn't make this stuff up.

I really don't want to say what happens next...because it's not revealed in the book blurb and if you're truly interested in reading this book, I don't want to ruin it for when you're almost halfway in.  But, I will say that this man's story is I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. 

The one thing David really complained about was, and I quote (David, not the book), "How many times is the food situation going to become more dire?"  And he has a point.  This is an issue that is brought up repeatedly (again and again and again).

I give this book a big, fat A and cannot wait for Hillenbrand to write another book.  I know she's a non-fiction writer and has to do tons of research for her books, so it'll be a while yet.  But, I'm extremely impressed with both her writing style and choice of writing subjects thus far.  Needless to say, I highly recommend this book.

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