I don't read a lot of non-fiction, so my praise of Hillenbrand's clear, clean prose may actually be par for the course, but I doubt it. The story of Louie Zamperini's WWII endurance of survival is so rich with head-shaking feats that Hillenbrand does well not to inflate the story with complex or hyperbolic adjectives. In fact, she largely stands out of the way of her character heroes, and with the nearly 10 years worth of research she has collected, allows the details of their lives, and in many cases their exact words, to take the deserved spotlight.

Much of WWII history centers on the European front, which is all but absent from discussion in this Pacific war story. The severity of the Japanese POW camps was new to this reader, and the idea that someone who survived such inhumane treatment could return to this place to forgive and find peace with what happened is inspiring. Gripping and fascinating.