Louis Zamperini Passes: Olympian, WWII POW, Forgiving Christian

Louis Zamperini was an Olympian in 1936, went on to become a B-24 bombardier, and would eventually become famous for surviving 47 days afloat in the Pacific Ocean — followed by two years in Japanese POW camps.

Zamperini died last Thursday, July 3rd, at the age of 97.

Zamperini wrote a book about his experiences entitled Devil at My Heels, which was reviewed here. Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote Seabiscuit and heard about Zamperini during her research, wrote another biography entitled Unbroken (reviewed here), which would go on to be a bestseller and even make the 2012 USAF Chief of Staff reading list. Unbroken is currently being made into a movie (directed by Angelina Jolie) scheduled for a December 2014 release.

Many of the articles on his passing focus on his story from WWII, and, like Unbroken, essentially end there. At least one notes what happened afterward, as Zamperini focused on in his own book. Zamperini — an alcoholic bent on revenge against his former captors — attended a Billy Graham crusade, became a Christian, and returned to Japan to forgive his former captors.