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Don't Give Up, Don't Give in : Lessons from an Extraordinary Life
by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin


Overview -

Champion. Survivor.Hero. Legend.

Completed just two days before Louis Zamperini's death at age 97, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In shares a lifetime of wisdom, insight, and humor from one of America's most inspiring lives. Zamperini's story has touched millions through Laura Hillenbrand's biography Unbroken, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie.  Read more...


 
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Overview

Champion. Survivor.Hero. Legend.

Completed just two days before Louis Zamperini's death at age 97, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In shares a lifetime of wisdom, insight, and humor from one of America's most inspiring lives. Zamperini's story has touched millions through Laura Hillenbrand's biography Unbroken, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie. Now, in his own words, Louis Zamperini reveals, with warmth and great charm, the essential values and lessons that sustained him throughout his remarkable journey.

He was a youthful troublemaker from California who turned his life around to become a 1936 Olympian and a world-class miler at the University of Southern California. Putting aside his superstar track career, Louis Zamperini volunteered for the army before Pearl Harbor and was thrust into the violent combat of World War II as a B-24 bombardier. While on a rescue mission, his plane went down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where he survived, against all odds, drifting two thousand miles in a small raft for forty-seven days. His struggle was only beginning: Zamperini was captured by the Japanese and, for more than two years, he courageously endured torture and psychological abuse in a series of prisoner-of-war camps. He returned home to face more dark hours, but in 1949 Zamperini's life was transformed by a spiritual rebirth that would guide him through the next sixty-five years of his long and happy life.

Cowritten with longtime collaborator David Rensin, Louis Zamperini's Don't Give Up, Don't Give In is an extraordinary last testament that captures the wisdom of a life lived to the fullest.

A son of Italian immigrants, Louis Zamperini (1917 2014) was a U.S. Olympic runner, World War II bombardier, and POW survivor. After the war, he returned to the United States to found the Victory Boys Camp for at-risk youth and became an inspirational speaker. Zamperini's story was told in his 2003 autobiographyDevil at My Heels, as well as in Laura Hillenbrand's 2010 biography Unbroken.

David Rensin worked closely with Louis Zamperini for many years and cowrote Devil at My Heels, as well as fifteen other books, including five New York Times bestsellers."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062368331
  • ISBN-10: 0062368338
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 272

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-09-29
  • Reviewer: Staff

Though the life of 1936 Olympic athlete and WWII POW Zamperini was indeed extraordinary, the “life lessons” collected in this posthumously published work (Zamperini died in 2014) prove disappointingly commonplace. The insights he shared with coauthor Rensin tend toward the broadly general, such as, at the start of a chapter on survival, “Life on earth is dangerous: you should be prepared for anything.” A section entitled “Anyone Can Turn Their Life Around,” meanwhile, strikes a surprisingly Pollyannaish note. Zamperini, with his extensive experience of peril, shares his counsel for dealing with dangerous situations, such as the eccentric earthquake-readiness tip to always keep a hard hat and pair of heavy shoes by one’s bedside. He seems less charming than reckless when he cheerfully describes playing “pranks,” including one that could have led to a fatal air accident. Zamperini’s willingness to forgive the sadistic Japanese officer who tormented him in captivity is moving, but his statement that “true forgiveness goes hand in hand with no longer condemning” may strike readers as an overly lenient attitude toward evil. Admirers of this extraordinary hero may prefer to stick with Laura Hillenbrand’s biography, Unbroken, and Zamperini’s own autobiography, Devil at My Heels. (Nov.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Pearls of hard-won wisdom

How much of an understatement is it to say that we need inspiration in this day and age? When the world is riven with war, pestilence and those other horsemen of the Apocalypse, a bit of hopefulness is just the thing.

AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE AND LEGEND
The late Louis Zamperini—the Olympic athlete and war hero who died in July at age 97—was indeed an inspiration. He wrote about his POW nightmare in Devil at My Heels, and Laura Hillenbrand chronicled his experiences in the bestseller Unbroken. In the last book from Zamperini, Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life, co-written with David Rensin, he mines his experiences for advice that will encourage others. Even as a young man, he had the gumption to turn his excess energy into something positive and became a champion athlete. His ebullience led him to set up camps for delinquent boys. In his twilight years, Zamperini carried the Olympic torch and went skateboarding. He also fully appreciated getting hugs from Angelina Jolie, whose film of Unbroken opens on Christmas Day.

THE POWER TO FORGIVE
Thank goodness for Anne Lamott. Her writing style, both unfussy and diaphanous, her congeniality, loopy humor and dogged optimism are balms. Her latest book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace is a gem. In addition to hope, she also brings anger, even rage, and uses it like a finely honed weapon. Because of her rage—at ridiculous men found on match.com, at politicians both heartless and gormless, at perfect, stay-at-home moms who wear size 0 and run around in biker shorts, at her rather grotesque mother, long-dead father and the state of the world in general—much of the book also focuses on forgiveness. Forgiveness may be a useful thing, she says, but people often need to be dragged to it kicking and screaming. According to Lamott, forgiveness probably needs one of those improbable moments of grace to happen at all. Surely, when it comes to questions of faith, Lamott is to essay writing what Marilynne Robinson is to fiction. Awesome.

ABOVE & BEYOND
Eric Metaxas, author of Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life, certainly believes in miracles, those eruptions of the ineffable into the mundane. He has no patience with those who think what the human being can discern with five senses is all there is. The miracles Metaxas writes of here range from the spectacular to what can be called “miracle light.” One of his acquaintances, a very British, High Church Anglican type, sees 50-foot angels in full battle rattle. Others see an incandescent Jesus or are healed at the last minute from deathly illnesses. Metaxas has no use for subtlety; these miracles only happen through the intercession of Jesus. But his writing, and the miracles he describes, encourage all of us to ponder the possible.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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