The “Unbroken” Man
Forget Forrest Gump.
Louis Zamperini ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, (evidently praised by Der Führer himself), he absconded with a Nazi flag from the Reich Chancellery (he still has it), flew B-24 Liberators over the Pacific in WWII, and survived adrift for 47 days in shark-infested waters after crashing. His raft had drifted 2,000 miles, and had been strafed by a Japanese warbird by the time he and one other survivor unluckily beached on the (Japanese held) Marshall Islands. As a POW, he survived for 25 hellish months in some of the most brutal Japanese prison camps of the war, singled out for special cruelty as a “famous” American athlete.
Tony Curtis was supposed to star in the film adaptation of his autobiography. He was one of Billy Graham’s first well-known converts, and he’s now the subject matter of a new book by Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit.
The look in Mr. Zamperini’s blue eyes is indescribable. And rightly so. Many of us will simply not live a life quite as rich (and quite as hard) as he has.
And don’t miss the WSJ’s interactive slide show chronicling his amazing life. (I particularly enjoyed the skateboarding picture.)