When this came up one my reserve list from the library, after having read 4 other WWII books in the past month, I was less than enthusiastic. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with WWII and was not really looking forward to yet another war story.
BUT this book was absolutely amazing. The writing is approachable, informative, funny, evocative, and just overall very good. Hillenbrand describes the scenes in a way that is not overwritten, yet very detailed. Louie Zamperini is an amazing character and she captures his spirit well on the page. The topic was refreshing (despite my boredom with WWII) because it is about the less touted but equally horrifying Pacific front...really Hitler gets an undue amount of press in my opinion. I learned a lot, was entertained throughout, and am now thinking I should read Seabiscuit.
She covers the topic well (I wasn't left with any unanswered questions) and her narrative manages to appear without many biases. Unlike most non-fiction books I did not find myself thinking about the other side. She tries to be fair with the Bird, but in the end, despite Louie's forgiveness, the reader is left feeling okay about hating him. I adored that she glossed over Louie's religious redemption...certainly it is part of the story and needs to be mentioned, but for those of us atheists and agnostics it is a relief to not have to read through religious babble.
Overall a wonderful accomplishment.