This book has absolutely nothing to do with motorcycles, but I know a number of my followers are avid readers and this is such an incredible book I just had to share it.
This is a true story.
Louis Zamperini started life as an unlikely hero. He was a wild child, constantly getting into trouble. Angry neighbours and local police were regular visitors to the Zamperini house until a particular bout of trouble resulted in him joining the high school track team. Soon he was winning every local race and eventually competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. His times continued to improve and some reporters were predicting he might be the first person to break the 4-minute mile at the 1940 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.
But World War II had other plans. The German-Soviet invasion of Finland resulted in the Helsinki games being cancelled, and Louis signed up with the Army Air Corps, eventually becoming a bombardier on B-24s in the South Pacific.
After returning from one sortie with 594 holes in their aircraft, the crew was assigned a new plane and sent off on a search and rescue mission. The mission ended badly with the plane and most of its crew being lost at sea. Louis and two other crew members survived the crash and spent 47 days in a raft with no food, no fresh water, harassed by sharks and strafed by Japanese planes until they eventually reached land and were subsequently captured. Then life got considerably worse for Louis as he spent the next 27 months in Japanese prison camps, subject to daily abuse, brutality and extreme deprivation until the war ended.
Returning to the US a broken man, both physically and mentally, Louis struggled to regain some form of normalcy in his life. He eventually discovered his faith and conquered his demons, even finding it within himself to forgive his Japanese tormentors.
It took a long time but Louis got his life back and continues to live it to the fullest. Climbing mountains in his sixties and skateboarding at 82, Louis’ story is a true inspiration to all of us and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit under the most trying of circumstances.