Athletically gifted, Louis Zamperini propelled himself from the tough streets of Southern California to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but when war came he left the track for a B-24--a move that would have heartbreaking consequences in a prisoner of war camp. Moving and unforgettable, terrifying and inspirational, "Devil at My Heels" is not to be ...
Athletically gifted, Louis Zamperini propelled himself from the tough streets of Southern California to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but when war came he left the track for a B-24--a move that would have heartbreaking consequences in a prisoner of war camp. Moving and unforgettable, terrifying and inspirational, "Devil at My Heels" is not to be missed.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-12-09 Zamperini, the son of Italian immigrants, was convinced by his younger brother to try out for the track team-and he eventually earned a spot on the 1936 U.S. Olympic team. In Berlin, he roomed with Jesse Owens and (alas) shook hands with Adolf Hitler. When WWII began, Zamperini entered the Army Air Corps and became a bombardier in a B-24 squadron. On May 27, 1943, during a search and rescue mission, Zamperini's plane crashed into the Pacific, leaving him and two other survivors in a life raft. Forty-seven days later, after one of the three had died, Louis and his pilot washed ashore on Wotje Atoll and were quickly scooped up by a Japanese patrol. Then followed more than two years of hell. After narrowly averting being executed, Zamperini wound up in prison camps in Japan itself, where his captors unsuccessfully tried to recruit him to broadcast propaganda for them. After the war, he returned home, married and tried to return to normal. But the flashbacks of his captivity, especially the psychopathic brutality of a guard nicknamed "The Bird," continued to haunt him. Alcoholism followed. Then, his wife persuaded Zamperini to attend one of evangelist Billy Graham's crusades. The author found salvation and even returned to Japan as a missionary. Although Zamperini published his story in 1957, this updated version, which includes his participation in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games ceremonies in Japan, resurrects Zamperini's heroism via Rensin, a veteran of similar collaborations. It's difficult to argue with the account they have produced of a harrowing life constantly redirected toward good works. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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