books, movies, sport - amateur


Having not had family or friends die stupidly, needlessly in war, I’ve gotten complacent about just how horrible it can be.

The true story of Louis Zamperini should be a lesson to us all.

UNBROKEN by Laura Hillenbrand is a fantastic book.

In late May 1943, the B-24 carrying the 26-year-old Zamperini went down over the Pacific.

For nearly seven weeks — longer, Hillenbrand believes, than any other such instance in recorded history — Zamperini and his pilot managed to survive on a fragile raft. They traveled 2,000 miles, only to land in a series of Japanese prison camps, where, for the next two years, Zamperini underwent a whole new set of tortures. …

NY Times book review

Click PLAY or see the author on YouTube.

Zamperini grew up in Torrance, Calif., a juvenile delinquent saved by sport. He developed into a world-class runner who eventually competed at the 1936 Olympics where he asked Hitler for a photo.

The author believes Zamperini MIGHT have been first to break the 4 minute mile if he had had a little more time training.

The bulk of the story is two and a half years as a prisoner of war in three brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camps.

Mutsuhiro Watanabe  – nicknamed by his prisoners as “the Bird” – was the psychopath who tortured Zamperini.

Less than 2% of Americans held in German prisoner of war camps died. It was 30-40% mortality in the Japanese camps.

Right after finishing the book I watched the film. (2014)

It was produced and directed by Angelina Jolie.

The movie made money but only has 51% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s about right. It’s OK. But don’t go out of your way to see it.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

If you read the book first, you’ll be disappointed. The story is simplified and changed because HOLLYWOOD.

I should say the actor who played The Bird — Japanese musician Miyavi — was superb. Very close to the evil devil from the book.


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