After reading some reviews here, I expected a page-turner book that would keep me up at night.
My expectations could not have been more wrong: instead of a thrilling story, I found a sort of history lesson, well documented, mildly interesting and informative, but also quite dull.It's amazing that a story with so many twists and turns can be so boring to read!
I have to mention how much I disliked Part I, about the early years of Louis life. As a child, he was a reckless troublemaker, a juvenile delinquent; as a teen he became the perfect runner, shattering every record with great ease, chased by autograph-seeking cheerleaders. Even if he changed from archvillain to superhero, my dislike for him did not change a bit. He seemed to have an inexhaustible need to overcome other people, either through violence or by winning sporting events. I can't stand people like him. Often I wondered why I'm reading the biography of such an annoying person.
The story is way over the top. If this was fiction, I'd say it's one of those lame books where an invincible hero survives an incredible amount of unlikely events. Anyway, it's a true story, supported by many historical documents, listed in the last 50 pages of the book. I guess that reality sometimes exceeds imagination.
Most of all, I appreciated the author's choice to not just describe what happened, but to include many explanations for each event, for instance: why some prison camp guards were particularly sadistic, why there were many plane crashes in the US army, why you can't drink ocean water, which was the name of his airplane and why, and so on.
Even if different from what I expected, I still enjoyed this book, to some extent.
It took me a quite long time to finish reading it, and often I had to force myself to keep reading.