Madigan’s Letter Essay #8 – Unbroken

During Spring Break, I finished reading Unbroken, a 473 page Informational/Autobiography book by the besting selling author of Seabiscuit and A Sudden Illness, Laura Hillenbrand, which tells of what it was like battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome without her family and having to drop out of college, which I was surprised because she writes beautifully. Unbroken and Seabiscuit sold over 10 million books and each was adapted into a film. Plus Unbroken was on the New York Times bestseller list for 4 years and number one for 14 weeks, so it became the 5th longest-running non fiction bestseller of all time. This book was published on November 16th, 2010 and it was recommended to me by my mom, and it was perfect because I needed to read an Informational or Autobiography.

Louis (Louie) Zamperini, a 24 year old world record keeper of the fastest mile run, who enlisted in the United States Army Air Force in 1941, wants to make it home safe and attend the next Summer Olympic Games. But, when his plane Super Man is riddled with 656 holes and a destroyed right tail wing, Zamperini is frightened and his crew and plane is split up from each other from injuries. So, Louie gets an older B-24 called The Green Hornet and a brand new crew and is finally sent out on a search and rescue mission for a down plane off of Hawaii. But in 1943, during the mission, Louie’s plane goes down due to mechanical malfunctions and he and his best friend Phil who survived the plane crash in the Pacific Theater, drift on for 47 days and end up washing ashore the Marshall Islands. They then were captured by Japanese soldiers and made Prisoners of War for two and a half years. So Phil and Louie will do their best at not getting into trouble and staying alive while living in the worst conditions.

I liked the way the author starred certain parts and included facts about the war, his racing days, extra information on his childhood, or the Berlin Olympics. It was a new way to add information that was, say about the Berlin Olympics, but the author was showing of Louie’s partying after the games.

I wished the author made it more clear about how Louis was like a kid. First it says he was stubborn minded, he picked fights and stole from bakeries. But then the author goes on saying how he was very shy, had no friends, and was bullied all the time.

I was moved by how powerful Laura Hillenbrand writes, for example the raft scenes with the sharks circling the yellow rafts and the Japanese B-24 shooting hundreds of holes into the rafts. Or when the Great White Shark passed under the raft in the middle of the night. Or when she wrote of combat or distress, I felt was one of the author’s strengths.

In this next passage, Phil, Louie and other crewmen have just finished bombing on Nauru when Japanese Zeros surround the B-24 and take aim. The plane takes on numerous bullets and cannon ball shells, most of the men were wounded, all men are on the verge of death and finally all the Zeros have been shoot down or have retreated back to Nauru. Then all the injured men were treated with the minimal medical supplies aloud on board.

‘ He (Louie) bandaged Pillsbury, gave him a shot of morphine, feed him a sulfa pill, then hurried away to see if they could save the plane.

Superman was dying. Phil couldn’t turn it from side to side with the normal controls, and the plane was pulling upward so hard, trying to flip, that Phil couldn’t hold it with his arms. He put both feet on the yoke and pushed as hard as he could. The nose kept rearing up so high that the plane was on the verge of stalling. It was porpoising, up and down.’

This shows the distress in the crew members, pain from injury, and panic to save the plane enough to make it to the next island. The author’s craft, using long, short sentences makes the paragraph very suspenseful. But of Seabiscuit and Unbroken, that is how this author writes, which I love. If I were to rate this book, I would rate it a 9/10 because of the action and suspense where it flowed but, in the beginning and quiet times during the book, it was very slow and choppy. Overall I liked it and I would recommend it to people looking for an Informational or Autobiography book.  

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13 thoughts on “Madigan’s Letter Essay #8 – Unbroken

  1. Dear Madigan,
    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay! I liked that your essay was so organized and that you included important statistics. I also liked the way you summarized the book up.

    -Zoe w.

  2. Dear Madigain,

    I enjoyed your letter essay. It was very informational and clear. I liked how you described in detail and it was very clear for me to read. You also had passages for the readers to read and get a better understanding of the book. I too know about the novel I only watched the movie though. I always thought the book was not as good even though acording to you it won awards. Yet reading this letter essay may move me to read the book aswell. In conclucsion I really enjoyed your letter essay. Good job!


  3. Dear Madigan,

    I really enjoyed your letter essay. I had never heard of this book before and now I’m intrigued to read it. I liked your summary and your overall essay but you forgot to sign off with a “sincerely” and when quoting your passage you used apostrophes (‘) instead of quotation marks (“”) . But other than that i really enjoyed it and have a new book to look out for!


  4. I thought your essay was great Madigan, I saw the movie for this book and it was just as amazing as your letter essay.

  5. Dear Madigan,
    I read this book at the same time as you and this is also what I did my letter-essay on, it is a very good book and you did a very good job on this essay. Good job! I also liked the quoted passage you chose.


  6. Dear Madigan,
    I really enjoyed your Letter Essay! I liked how you summarized your facts and information. I really liked your elaboration and details! Good job!

  7. Dear Madigan,

    Your letter essays was very interesting. I also liked your quoted passage because it was very descriptive. I think it sounds like a good book and I think I will read it because I saw part of the movie and really enjoyed it.

    Maddy O

  8. Dear Madigan,

    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay. I had never previously heard of this book, but after reading your letter essay I’m considering to read this book now.


  9. Dear Madigan,

    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay! I have heard of this book but have not read it. Your letter made me want to read this book because you summarized it so well.


  10. Dear Madigan,
    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay! You did a really nice job explaining what you wished the author had done, what ayou liked the author did, and how the book made you feel. This book sounds really interesting, thanks to your letter essay I will consider reading it. Nice job!
    -Alex Harris

  11. Dear Madigan
    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay. I liked how you explained what out would have wanted the book to be more like. Because of your essay I am definetly going to read this book shortly.
    Jake Petrino

  12. Dear Madigan,

    You did a great job on your letter essay. I have seen this book before but never thought of reading the back to see what it was about, it seems really good. I loved the quoted passage you chose it gave a good impression for the book.


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