Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is one of the BEST books I have read in a long time. This novel had me hooked from beginning to end, and I’m so glad that I grabbed in while I was in the bookstore (especially considering during the bookstore visit, which involved an attendant who did not believe I was a teacher even with photo ID, and would not help me find what I was looking for, and then I was mocked by the manager, and … I’ll stop there because the bookstore alone is a story within itself!).
This powerfully moving narrative highlights the life of WWII AF lieutenant Louie Zamperini, whose colorful younger days ranged from neighborhood trouble maker to one of the best runners in the world. It not only serves as a historical novel of a very significant point in our world’s history, but it also weaves in the lives of so many who were involved and directly impacted with the war that you would not necessarily read about (or at least as in-depth) within a history text in school.
I think this would be a great novel for any English/History class, and a novel that could lead to an independent research activity in which students find the story of one of the servicemen (or women on the home front) and bring it to life. Further, I have always said that I am not a “history” person, and yet Hillenbrand made me a history person with her vibrant writing. Thus, this novel has the potential to pull in more reluctant students in an engaging way that would tie in what they are learning about in their history class.
I don’t want to give too much away regarding this book, and it would be easy to do so because its story will stay with me for a long time. Anyway, I truly feel that if you only read one book this summer, make Unbroken that book!