Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin


Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin.

“I survived the war, but then I had to survive myself coming home from the war. Despite the good times and all the attention, I was under a cloud that kept growing darker. I had nightmares about killing the Bird from which I woke up shouting and swearing. My running legs were gone and I couldn’t compete anymore, which broke my heart. I wanted to strike it rich, but lost money instead. I drank and fought. I knew I was on the wrong path—but didn’t know what to do about it.” ~Louis Zamperini

If the movie Unbroken, or even what you’ve heard about the movie or the book by Laura Hillenbrand, is your only acquaintance with Louis Zamperini, then you already know that he was an amazing man with an almost unbelievable life story. What you may not know is what Paul Harvey used to call The Rest of the Story.

I would suggest that anyone who was captivated by Mr. Zamperini’s story in the movie should immediately, without delay, beg, borrow, or steal a copy of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. If you just aren’t a reader and can’t bring yourself to read that wonderful biography, then Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In tells the rest of Louis Zamperini’s story in a much shorter format, 224 pages laid out in easy to read chunks or chapter of three or four pages each. If you’ve already read Unbroken, but can’t get your friends or family members to read it, give them a copy of this book. Louis Zamperini’s character, warmth, and wisdom shine through the pages here just as they did in the pages of Unbroken.

David Rensin, who had already worked with Mr. Zamperini on his autobiography Devil at My Heels, met with Zamperini again for about six months to complete this book because Louis said he still had stories he wanted to tell. The stories in the book, which was completed two days before Mr. Zamperini died on July 2, 2014, continue to illuminate the life of this man who not only was a hero, but also a very broken and vengeful man after his return from prison camp. In Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand tells what it was that made Louis Zamperini whole again, in her words. In this book Mr. Zamperini gets to tell us about his recovery in his own words.

“I had nothing left to lose.
That admission itself was the beginning of my recovery. I’d always known that I’d come home from the war with a problem, but I had never been willing to ask for help—from anyone.
But now I had, and my whole body and spirit felt different. Wonderful. Calm. Free.”

Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book cover here to go to Amazon and buy something, I receive a very small percentage of the purchase price.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin

  1. I just finished reading this! It is GREAT! Thanks for the review!

  2. Wow…didn’t know about this little book. I read “Unbroken” a while back but haven’t seen the movie yet (mostly since I can’t force myself to go to theaters filled with so many rude people and smart phones). I’ve heard that the movie does not tell the end of the store in which Louis manages to find his old tormentor in Japan for a face-to-face meeting. I think that’s a shame because it tells exactly what kind of man Louis was.

    I’ll look for this little book. Thanks.

  3. David Rensin

    Thanks for the nice words about the book. May I also suggest Louie’s autobiography that he and I completed seven years before Unbroken: DEVIL AT MY HEELS. Tells the whole story from Louie’s point of view in his own voice. Thanks again.

  4. Thanks, David, for that follow-up information about the other book. You guys have added two books to my TBR list today…and that’s always a good thing.

  5. I loved, loved, loved the book Unbroken (listened to an audiobook version narrated by Edward Hermann). I haven’t seen the movie yet. Thanks for mentioning this – I am putting it on my TBR list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *