unbrokenFor fans of “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” originally published in 2010 by Laura Hillenbrand, this new young adult version was recently released and contains new and engaging additions. Full of photos, many of which were from Louie Zamperini’s private collection, the book also includes Zamperini’s last interview with Hillenbrand. The film adaptation, directed by Angelina Jolie, was released this past Christmas, and has sparked controversy not only in Japan, but also in the U.S.

Hillenbrand decided to create a young adult version of her #1 New York Times Bestseller to expand the audience for her book and to be a part of the trend to reach young adults. Hillenbrand believed Zamperini’s story should touch everyone’s life in some way, including the lives of children. Jolie agreed, saying, “Every young person should have the chance to read this book.”

Zamperini ran a children’s camp and so was equally thrilled upon hearing of her idea for the book. The interview at the end of this new edition was Hillenbrand’s last recorded conversation with Zamperini before he passed away in the summer of last year. Hillenbrand even had the idea to ask students for question ideas so that she could conduct the interview from a young adult’s point of view.

The release of the book’s adaptation for younger readers created buzz for the movie, which already promised to be a thriving success. For readers who have both read the book and seen the movie, you may have noticed the focus placed on Zamperini’s experience in the prisoner of war camp in Japan where he lived under the ruthless rule of “The Bird.”

However, in the book, his story is more equally divided between his childhood, race to the Olympics, survival on the open ocean, life as a Japanese prisoner and acceptance of Christianity. Jolie has been criticized by some for instead crediting Louie’s newfound devotion to spirituality in general. In Japan, uber nationalists have slammed Jolie for being racist and the film for being historically inaccurate.

This was, after all, Zamperini’s account of his hellish ordeal during World War II, which is superbly depicted in Hillenbrand’s book and the newly adapted young adult version. Check out the book and the movie today to see for yourself.   

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