Saturday, July 23, 2011
READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!! I bought this book as a gift for my Father-In-Law for Christmas. I didn't know what to get him and books are kind of my go to gift when I can't think of anything else. I knew nothing about this book, but it was in the top 10 books on Barnes and Noble's website. Ron loves World War II stuff, so I figured he would like it. Well, Ron really, really liked it. He passed it around to different family members, and then it got passed on to me a couple of weeks ago. And now I am highly recommending this book.
It is the story of Louis Zamperini. Louis was on the US track team in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He was almost the first person to run a 4 minute mile, I think he did it in 4:08. After the Olympics he was drafted for World War II. He was a bomber on a B24. You will not believe what he went through the years he was in the war. There were times I could swear this book had to be fiction, but it's all true. I'll just give you one little scenario:
His plane went down in the ocean while they were searching for another plane that had gone down the day before. He and two others survived the crash and were on two life rafts tied together for 47 days. The entire time they were on the rafts, sharks were circling them and bumping the bottom of their raft. After a few weeks on the raft, they saw a plane. They thought it was an American plane and shot a couple of flares in the air. The plane saw the flares and flew toward them. It was a Japanese plane and they started shooting at the men on the raft. Louis jumped into the water to avoid the bullets and while under water avoiding those bullets he was punching sharks in the noses to keep them away. These were not Great Whites, I think they were Reef sharks. Anyway, the plane flew over them 4 times shooting at them every time. Louis jumped in the water everytime and punched sharks. Not one of the bullets hit any of the men, but one of the rafts was completely demolished, the other one had 48 bullet holes in it and started sinking. The further they sunk in the water the more excited the sharks got. The sharks started jumping into the raft. The men had two oars with them. So, while one man was patching the bullet holes, one man pumped air into the raft and the other man hit sharks in the face with oars to keep them from jumping in the raft. I'm not even going to get into what these men ate while on the raft.
Okay, that is all I'm going to say, except further into the book, Louis starts longing for the days he was on the raft fighting sharks. Oh yeah, and Louis picks up skateboarding in his late 70's. He's adorable.
The book was written by Laura Hillenbrand, she wrote the book Seabiscuit. I haven't read that book, because, sorry Scout, horses are about the least interesting thing to me. But, I may just pick it up, because she is a really good writer. She can go into very specific detail, but yet kind of gloss over things. Some authors would probably have dedicated a hundred pages or more on just the raft story alone, Laura does it in about 30 to 40. Read this book, you won't be sorry. And it is a great reminder of the amazing men who fought in WWII. You cannot believe what some of these men went through and how they put up with it and got through it because they loved their country so much and believed in what they were doing.