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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemptionthe riveting life story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, is easily one of the best books I’ve read… ever. As I was reflecting on the journey of this remarkable man, I was moved to tears by the wondrous power of the Holy Spirit to change a heart.

Louis was once a man “unbroken,” but not anymore:

  • The bullies he faced in high school in the 1920’s couldn’t break him.
  • The injustice done to him by other runners as he raced to beat records didn’t break him.
  • The severe homesickness that accompanied his military service couldn’t break him.
  • His plane crash into the Pacific on May 27, 1943 didn’t break him.
  • 47 days drifting on a raft in the ocean couldn’t break him.
  • The sharks that attacked him from the water while the Japanese strafed his raft from the sky didn’t break him.
  • Burying his close friend and fellow soldier at sea couldn’t break him.
  • A typhoon that nearly swamped his raft didn’t break him.
  • His Japanese captors who taunted and tortured and nearly starved him for two and a half years couldn’t break him.
  • The mental agonies stirred up by the tortures of “The Bird” didn’t break him.
  • But in September 1949, at a Billy Graham crusade, the gospel broke him.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.


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6 thoughts on “What Finally Broke Louis Zamperini”

  1. Thanks for this great post! I am ministering with Carl Lewis next summer at Olympics in London. What a great story and my new book is called The Blessedness of Brokeness. Thanks for your awesome ministry. Clayton King speaks very highly of you. Bless you brother

  2. Agreed, I read it around last Christmas….check this out, they documented his life on CBS when the Nagano Winter Olympics was going on.

    http://www.provocativechurch.com/2011/01/unbroken.html

    One of the more inspiring stories I ever read.

  3. Reinold Jones says:

    What you are saying is scripturally incorrect and an insult to a great American hero, Christ NEVER “Breaks” people:

    Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.

    Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.

    Until you have suffered one one thousandth the tribulations that this man had suffered, you are utterly unqualified to arrogantly say such things to further sales of your book and career. I am sure that Christ does not agree with you. This generation knows nothing of RESPECT.

  4. Gary Gemian says:

    Brother Reinold
    While you are correct that Christ never breaks people, I do not believe this was the intention of the author of the title: “What finally broke Louis Zamperini”. I would have chosen a better title to avoid the assertions one may make as you did. I read this book and it by far is one of the best books I have ever read. What finally broke in Mr Zamperini’s case was his will to continue to be separatd from God. He resisted the Spirit of God’s calling all throughout his life. Brokeness from sin and one’s old nature is a decision all men and women must be willing to choose to accept Christ as their Savior.

  5. Ron Harvey says:

    Met this dear man years ago and has always been an inspiration to me. He was saved the year I was born under
    Billy Graham’s minstry. He inspired me so that I began a “reserved counselor” at the age of 14 at the 1963 BGC in Los Angeles. He gave his testimony.

  6. Willie Davis says:

    Brother Reinold;

    I appreciate your concern and desire to be accurate. However, I believe that you may have assumed a meaning by the author that is not really there. Perhaps he might have chosen better words. May I simply ask – does your response to the article demonstrate the type of respect you so strongly desire?

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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