Unexpected Book Club: Unbroken


In all honesty, I was not excited — at first — about reading this book. Mention any book dealing with history, or the military, or worse military history and I quickly switch tracks to something more exciting, like thinking of just how much darn fun it was when we were PCS homeless for three months.

History has never been my thing and I can only say “hey!  I recognize that name!” all thanks to the military installation tradition of naming streets after famous servicemembers.

Two years ago I had a good friend tell me I should read Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption and I pretty much blew her off since she is one of those awesome wives that reads every military history book her husband brings home because she ENJOYS IT. Blech.

I had another friend who also shared her love for Unbroken and told me it was a must read. And her husband. And then another friend. And her husband as well. And then my own husband. Even in the library, I met a woman who exclaimed to me, “Ooooh.  I loved that book.”

Figured it was time to get on the band wagon and prove them wrong.

Boy were they right. I could kick myself for not reading it sooner. What was a military spouse book wonderful surprise … like opening up an unexpected gift and discovering it was exactly what you wanted without realizing you were missing it to begin with.

I could sit and write, no sing, this book’s praises but do not want to steal any part of reading Louis Zamperini’s amazing story away from you. All I will say is that author Laura Hilldebrand wrote his biography in such a way that I loved reading about what happened during one man’s life which included a troubled youth, shattered Olympic dreams, World War II, and the aftermath. This biography reads like a work of fiction and has become one of my favorite books of all time. One I want to have on my shelf and can’t wait for my boys to read so we can all discuss it together.

Unbroken hopefully will do for you what is has done for me: allow you to look and see the WWII generation with new eyes.  It will give you respect for the struggles military members experienced and without the support structures currently in place today. It has become so easy for us to complain about the sequestration, about how unfair it is for us to move, how we haven’t heard from our deployed loved ones in two days, about how the support agencies have messed up …

But here is a man who didn’t complain. He lined up and dealt with life, with all the twists and turns along the rocky way.  Reading this book made me GRATEFUL for what the military has today. And also reminded me that the only person I can control is myself.

For those with wounded warriors, physically and emotionally, at home, there will be parts where you can commiserate. For those who have gone for weeks without knowing if your loved one is alive or dead, it will give you hope. And for those who have nothing to truly complain about (like me), it will give you a new perspective about what it means to live, honestly and truly, a life worth living.

And please, when you are done reading, do three things:

1. Show appreciation to veterans
2. Pass the book along
3. Share your comments here — I’d love to read your thoughts.

About the Author

Married to her high school sweetheart/AD Air Force man, Heidi was initially reluctant to life as a dependent, finally drank the Kool-Aid, and has since embraced being an active Air Force spouse. With a background in sports medicine, she has no real reason to write other than she enjoys it and likes to get others thinking. Heidi enjoys at-will employment as a substitute teacher, serving as an Arlington Lady, mothering two boys, rehabbing their short sale home purchase, recovering from a case of volunteeritis, correcting her verb tense, and learning more acronyms.
  • kla

    Love love loved that book. They better not ruin it and make it into a movie, lol.

  • Lee

    Thanks Heidi – I hadn’t heard of this but will be seeking it out now