Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unbroken Read-Alikes

Have you read the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand or heard about the new Unbroken movie directed by Angelina Jolie coming out December 25th? Have you read about the same book being nominated for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize or seen the headlines about Louis Zamperini passing away in May at the ripe old age of 97?

If you haven't then you are truly missing out.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been an incorrigible delinquent.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, with a talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war had come, he became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and the unknown. 

This book is for you if you like World War II history, are interested in the Olympic Games, like competitive running, or love a hero who can't be held down.  This is a book about war so it can be harsh and even brutal but it is also a book about hope and you will be really glad you read it.

Now if you have read the book and loved it like I did, then try some of the following similar titles:

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown--the story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics.

No Ordinary Joes: the Extraordinary True Story... by Larry Colton--in 1943, the crew of the USS Grenadier rushed to save their submarine after a torpedo sent it to the ocean floor. Miraculously, they were able to bring it back to the surface, only to be captured by the Japanese. This is the story of four of the Grenadier’s crew.

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Soldiers by James D. Hornfischer--on October 25, 1944, off the Island of Samar, the USS Samuel B. Roberts and other small ships of a tiny fleet were the only thing standing between MacArthur’s vulnerable invasion force and the might of the Japanese Navy.

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder--A story about the heroism inherent in ordinary people and a life based on hope.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer--When journalist Krakauer barely crawled back from the summit in a storm on May 10, 1996, six of his fellow climbers hadn't made it back and were urgently struggling for their lives. This is a true account of the deadliest season on Mount Everest.

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson--in 1991, two deep wreck divers found a WWII German U-boat off the coast of New Jersey.  No identifying marks were found and no historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. Over the next six years, an elite team embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. 

Double Cross: the True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre--It saved thousands of lives and secured the most critical victory of the war and it is told from the viewpoints of the key players in the most successful spy operation of WWII.

Ghost Soldiers: the Epic Account... by Hampton Sides--On January 28, 1945, 121 6th Army Rangers slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines in an attempt to rescue 513 American and British POW's including the last survivors of the Bataan Death March.

No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi... by Fritz Stern and Elisabeth Sifton--A theologian and a lawyer who fought against Hitler’s policies and paid the ultimate price.  

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff--the untold story of an extraordinary WWII rescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged 3 U.S. fliers into the impenetrable jungles of New Guinea.

Paradise Road (DVD)--based on a true story, in 1942 a group Western women are captured by the Japanese. Over the rest of the war they suffer the horrors of being POW's and they rise above their circumstances by creating a vocal orchestra.

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