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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Monday, July 30, 2012

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - A Must Read

I'm always behind the times on my reading.  This book released in 2010.  Word of mouth made this awesome non-fiction title known to me recently, and now I'm passing it along to any of you who, like me, might not have heard about it yet.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a WWII Prisoner of War.  But it's far more than that.  We tend to blow off WWII as old news.  And when WWII IS discussed, it is usually confined only to discussion of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

This book covers the Japanese involvement in the war and the harsh and cruel treatment of Allied prisoners of war at their hands.  It's about the amazing ability of man to survive, and the amazing depradations that mankind can commit.

Even if you abhor history (I can't imagine anyone like that but I heard a rumor that there are folks like that) if you are a Christian, this is a must read.  As I read the stories of the men represented in this book, as I learned more about Japan's role in the war then I was ever taught in school, the overarching theme that smacked me between the eyes was this:  this is what happens when sin reigns.

More profoundly, this book was a reminder to me why we need to be salt and light in the world.  Sin affects all of us, regardless of our gender, our ethnicity, or our country of origin.  From earliest times we have warred with one another on a national, yes even global scale.  But we also war with each other on an individual basis.

Sin will not be conquered completely until that final moment when Jesus returns, but we are His hands and feet, here and now.

I'm not so naive as to think we'll completely obliterate war, but the more people who come to know the Lord, the less likely it is to happen.

This book made me thankful once again for God's intervention in the affairs of mankind, even though we sometimes doubt He's paying attention.  For surely, if His hand were removed from us, we would not endure.

This book, with it's real life stories, was far more interesting than a lot of fiction I've recently read.  It makes me wonder why so much modern fiction cannot plumb the depths as this book did.  So even if you are not a history buff, or particularly concerned about being salt and light, if you are a fiction writer, you can still learn a great deal from Ms. Hillenbrand's very visual, pack-a-punch writing style.

I can't wait to see what non-fiction project she might tackle next.

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