Friday, November 18, 2011

"Unbroken" Streak

Note: For those who have not had a chance to read Ms. Hillenbrand's
graceful blending of facts and courage this is a must read. As well,
this is the kind of book that can be read one chapter at a time if
reading long novels is cognitively difficult.

Inside the List
Published: November 18, 2011

'UNBROKEN' STREAK: Happy B-day — that's B for "best seller" — to Laura
Hillenbrand, whose book "Unbroken" has now spent a full 52 weeks on
the hardcover nonfiction list: long enough to sit up and respond to
its name, according to that other perennial best seller, "What to
Expect When You're Expecting." "Unbroken" tells the story of Louis
Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner and tortured by
the Japanese during World War II. It entered the list at No. 2 last
Dec. 5, just below another book about war and torture, George W.
Bush's "Decision Points," and just above Jay-Z's "Decoded."
Hillenbrand's book has outlasted more than a hip-hop star's and a
two-term president's, though. Impressively, it's also vanquished her
own previous best seller, "Seabiscuit," which logged 30 weeks on the
list back in 2001-2 before making way for the paperback edition. We'll
never know whether Man O' War could have beaten his grandson
Sea­biscuit, but now we have proof that Prisoner O' War can.

"Unbroken" received near-unanimous praise when it was published last
year, and unsurprisingly, it has also fared well in the court of
public opinion. Out of some 1,860 Amazon customers who had weighed in
at press time, an astonishing 1,613 gave the book five stars, compared
with just 33 one-star ratings. Not bad for an author whose chronic
fatigue syndrome is so severe she once went two and a half years
without leaving her house. Even Zamperini found her struggles
inspiring: "I sent her one of my Purple Hearts," he told The
Washington Post last year. "I said, you deserve this more than me."
* * *
I've read the book myself and I also gave it five stars.

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