Olympian Runner, Hero of WWII is Honored Anew

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A handshake and the words "The boy with the fast finish": That's how Nazi Chancellor Adolf Hitler, presiding over the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, congratulated Louie Zamperini of Torrance, Calif., when the 19-year-old track star from USC stunned the Fuhrer by making up 50 yards in the final lap of the Games' 5,000-meter event.

For most Americans, competing in the Olympics and shaking Adolf Hitler's hand might mark the most historic events of their lives. But for Zamperini -- still mentally sharp and physically spry at 93, and living unassisted at his home in the Hollywood Hills -- those thrilling moments would prove mere precursors to a set of experiences that would test the very limits of humanity, and mark him for life as a survivor in a class by himself.

Though told before, Zamperini's story is receiving fresh attention with the recent publication of the New York Times and Amazon.com bestseller "Unbroken," by Laura Hillenbrand, who also wrote "Seabiscuit." Tracking down previously untapped veterans and unpublished documents, Hillenbrand has marshaled mountains of old and new evidence to present Zamperini's incredible life story with fresh and harrowing detail. But his story is not for the squeamish.....

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