A solid and resounding 3.5 starsThe promotional buzz for this book focuses on Louis Zamperini's survival at sea after a WWII plane crash, and his subsequent ordeal as a POW in Japan. If that's what piqued your interest in the book, I suggest beginning with Chapter 12,(or a few pages before, so you can get the part about the crash). For the first eleven chapters, it's as if Hillenbrand couldn't decide which story she wanted to tell. Instead, she tried to tell them all, and did so poorly. You can quickly scan those chapters for basic background (I did), but you won't be missing much if you just blow right past them. If you're old enough to remember the 1930s and early 1940s, you may enjoy these chapters for the sake of reminiscence. Beginning with Chapter 12, the book becomes more strongly focused. Louie's story sweeps itself along, and the author's presence becomes less noticeable. I can't call the story "inspiring," because I honestly think death would have been preferable to what these men endured. Louie himself stated: "If I knew I had to go through those experiences again, I'd kill myself." So, inspiring, no. But AMAZING, yes. Such ingenuity, persistence, and unwillingness to be broken by their captors is impressive and difficult to fathom. They continued to suffer upon return to the U.S., because the mind and body don't forget such traumas. Final Analysis: Astoundingly thorough research, serviceable writing, and, sorry to say, apparently no editorial oversight. From Chapter 12 to the end, it's a four-star offering well worth your time. Louie the man is ten-star material! Read it for sure, just know that my less-than-exceptional rating concerns a need to cut a great deal of material from the book.