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Louis Zamperini was a troubled boy in Torrance, California until he took up running and turned his life around. He set the high school track record for the mile and was undefeated for three-and-a-half years. In 1936 he went to Berlin as part of the American Olympic team running the 5000-meter race. At the University of Southern California he set the National Collegiate Athletic Association mile record of 4:08.3 that stood for 15 years.
When the Second World War broke out, Zamperini joined the Army Air Corps as a bombardier. On 27 May 1943, while on a rescue mission 800 miles south of Hawaii, Louis’s plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Only Louis, the pilot, and the tail-gunner survived. They waited in two life rafts for rescue. No one came − and chased by sharks, and surviving on rainwater and raw albatross − Louis drifted 2,000 miles for 47 days before, emaciated and near death, he and the pilot were captured by the Japanese.
Two and a half years of prison, torture and humiliation followed, much of it at the hands of a psychopathic guard nicknamed The Bird. Louis never gave up or gave in. He made it home and was called a hero. Zamperini said only, ‘I’m no hero, just a survivor.’
After the war Louis suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, drank too much, brawled and had constant nightmares about The Bird. It was during this dark period that Louis met and married the woman of his dreams then almost lost her before he hit bottom and found a way to forgive The Bird.
Zamperini went on to become an inspirational speaker and devoted himself to an outreach programme for boys who were as wayward as he had been as a boy. He counselled the famous, infamous and anonymous. He skied, ran, hiked, climbed a glacier − even skateboarded. He wrote an autobiography, Devil At My Heels, in 2003, and in 2010 Louis’s wartime adventures were the subject of Laura Hillenbrand’s mega-bestseller, Unbroken, which is now a movie directed by Angelina Jolie and due to be released Christmas 2014.
Before Zamperini died in July 2014 at the age of 97, he shared the wonderful lessons he had learned during his life, previously untold stories and inspirational insights on how he overcame adversity, maintained a positive attitude in the face of trouble, learned to forgive, and found the quiet strength to never give up and never give in. The result: Louis’s final book, Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In.
The film, Unbroken, based on Louis Zamperini’s life is about to be released, a timely publication for Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In, Louis Zamperini’s life-lessons gained through his war-time experiences, adversity and challenge. Like for Like ReadingUnbroken, Laura Hillenbrand Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian's Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II, Louis Zamperini The film version of Unbroken is released in UK cinemas on Friday 26 December 2014. Click below to view the trailer.
'IF YOU CAN TAKE IT, YOU CAN MAKE IT' Louis Zamperini lived one of the most amazing lives imaginable. As a young boy he was a troublemaker but his will to succeed drove him on to become an Olympian at the 1936 Games. With the outbreak of war, Louis volunteered for the army and was thrust into the violent combat of the Second World War as a B-24 bombardier. While on a rescue mission Louis's plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, leaving him stranded and drifting 2000 miles in a small raft for 47 days. Against all the odds he survived. His struggle was just beginning: captured by the Japanese, Louis courageously endured torture in a series of prisoner-of-war camps for over two years. Not only did he survive this ordeal but he went on to spend the rest of his life helping others. Completed just days before Louis's death at age 97, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In contains a lifetime of wisdom and humour. Louis shares the wonderful lessons he has learned during his life, previously untold stories, and inspirational insights on how he overcame adversity and found the courage to never give up and never give in. Louis's story has touched millions and will forever be one of the most inspiring examples of the great resilience of the human spirit.
American hero Louis Zamperini shares his wisdom, values, lessons, secrets, and other insights gleaned from his remarkable experiences in this powerful and inspiring book. Louis Zamperini's struggle to survive the unimaginable-brought to life in his autobiography Devil at My Heels and in Laura Hillenbrand's #1 New York Times bestseller and its film adaptation, Unbroken-elevated him to his rightful place among our country's greatest heroes. Now, Zamperini reveals the wisdom he learned along his incredible journey.
Champion. Survivor.Hero. Legend.Completed just two days before Louis Zamperini's death at age 97, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In shares a lifetime of wisdom, insight, and humor from one of America's most inspiring lives. Zamperini's story has touched millions through Laura Hillenbrand's biography Unbroken, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie. Now, in his own words, Louis Zamperini reveals, with warmth and great charm, the essential values and lessons that sustained him throughout his remarkable journey.He was a youthful troublemaker from California who turned his life around to become a 1936 Olympian and a world-class miler at the University of Southern California. Putting aside his superstar track career, Louis Zamperini volunteered for the army before Pearl Harbor and was thrust into the violent combat of World War II as a B-24 bombardier. While on a rescue mission, his plane went down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where he survived, against all odds, drifting two thousand miles in a small raft for forty-seven days. His struggle was only beginning: Zamperini was captured by the Japanese and, for more than two years, he courageously endured torture and psychological abuse in a series of prisoner-of-war camps. He returned home to face more dark hours, but in 1949 Zamperini's life was transformed by a spiritual rebirth that would guide him through the next sixty-five years of his long and happy life. Cowritten with longtime collaborator David Rensin, Louis Zamperini's Don't Give Up, Don't Give In is an extraordinary last testament that captures the wisdom of a life lived to the fullest.
The bestselling autobiography of the legendary Louis Zamperini, hero of the blockbuster Unbroken. A modern classic by an American legend, Devil at My Heels is the riveting and deeply personal memoir by U.S. Olympian, World War II bombardier, and POW survivor Louis Zamperini. His inspiring story of courage, resilience, and faith has captivated readers and audiences of Unbroken, now a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie. In Devil at My Heels, his official autobiography (co-written with longtime collaborator David Rensin), Zamperini shares his own first-hand account of extraordinary journey-hailed as one of the most incredible American lives of the past century (People). A youthful troublemaker, a world-class NCAA miler, a 1936 Olympian, a WWII bombardier: Louis Zamperini had a fuller life than most. But on May 27, 1943, it all changed in an instant when his B-24 crashed into the Pacific Ocean, leaving Louis and two other survivors drifting on a raft for forty-seven days and two thousand miles, waiting in vain to be rescued. And the worst was yet to come when they finally reached land, only to be captured by the Japanese. Louis spent the next two years as a prisoner of war-tortured and humiliated, routinely beaten, starved and forced into slave labor-while the Army Air Corps declared him dead and sent official condolences to his family. On his return home, memories of the war haunted him nearly destroyed his marriage until a spiritual rebirth transformed him and led him to dedicate the rest of his long and happy life to helping at-risk youth. Told in Zamperini's own voice, Devil at My Heels is an unforgettable memoir from one of the greatest of the Greatest Generation, a living document about the brutality of war, the tenacity of the human spirit, and the power of faith.
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