This is the inspiring story of Louis Zamperini. The son of Italian immigrants, he was a rebellious, destructive teenager who turned to distance running and became one of the outstanding distance runners in America. As a young man he makes the 1936 Olympic Team in Berlin, in the 5,000. He has his sights set on a gold medal in the 1940 Games, but World War II changes all of that.
Zamperini joins the Air Force where he flies on a large bomber (B-24). His plane is lost at sea in the middle of the Pacific. He survives, along with two others from his crew. They miraculously survive on two small rubber rafts for weeks, with the occasional rainfall and by occasionally catching a bird. They are continuously followed by sharks. One of their colleagues finally dies. Zamperini and his close friend, Russell Phillips, survive 46 days at sea, before they are captured by the Japanese. For the next two years they undergo brutal, at times excruciating, suffering as POWs in Japan. They barely survive the war.
Zamperini returns and struggles terribly with nightmares and alcoholism before getting saved at a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles.
This is an amazing and inspiring story of endurance. And, it gives the reader insights into the soldiers who survived World War II as POWs in Japan. A remarkable tale.