“Resilient optimism”

Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of Louis Zamperini in her book Unbroken—A World War II Story of Survival, Reislience and Redemption.

Louie’s story is incredible. It starts as a tale of an untamable boy who gained notoriety from his pranks and thefts. Louie was a runner at the Olympics in Berlin in 1936 before he joined the Air Force as a lieutenant. Then, after his bomber crashed in the Pacific Ocean, he endured 46 days on a raft and years of starvation and torture as a Japanese prisoner of war.

How did he survive? How could anyone survive the horror that he survived?

Louie relied on his “resilient optimism,” Laura Hillenbrand suggests.

In the beginning of the book, Hillenbrand talks about Louie’s childhood escapades and how they shaped him. “Confident that he was clever, resourceful and bold enough to escape any predicament, he was almost incapable of discouragement. When history carried him into war, this resilient optimism would define him.”

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