On a May afternoon in 1943, a bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, who struggled to a life raft and pulled himself aboard. So began one odyssey of the Second World War. The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been an incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channelled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and adrift into the unknown. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humour; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.