The poet Robert Burns could have been predicting the plight of American prisoners of war in Japan when he penned the famous words “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!” [ref]

And one POW who could take the stand as a leading witness for the prosecution in the case of man (Allied POWs) vs. man (Japanese prison guards)  is Louis Zamperini, former Olympian and U.S. Air Corps bombardier.

Zamperini was on the verge of becoming the first man to break the four minute mile, and looking forward to the 1940 Olympics, when World War II dashed his dreams. He ended up in the Army Air Corps, stationed in the Pacific. He and two crewmates were lost at sea when their B-24 crashed during a search and rescue mission.

The Book Thief

“I have hated the words and I have loved them….”

But the words were made right.

I just finished reading The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. When you read it — and perhaps you already have — you’ll probably understand what my introductory words mean, and perhaps you’ll even feel the way I do, a mixture of anger and joy, sadness and hope.

Books like this are why for me reading is a cherished pastime, a form of enlightenment and entertainment that far excels the feeble, shallow attempts of most modern media.

Set in a small town in World War II Nazi Germany, The Book Thief is possibly the most unique book I have ever read. The story’s narrator is, to say the least, highly unusual — yet absolutely appropriate, and the narrator’s manner of speech is extraordinary.

“… like a slice of cold cement.”
“… the falling chunks of rain….”
“… the young man’s voice was scraped out and handed across the dark like it was all that remained of him.”
“Her words were quiet, close to motionless.”
“The rubble just climbed higher. Concrete hills with caps of red.”

But more moving than how the story was told, is the story that was told.
Continue reading “The Book Thief”