Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemption

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keaggy220
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Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemption

Post by keaggy220 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:16 am

What a wonderfully inspiring book! I've posted part of the NY Times review below. Please do not look up the review and read it in its entirety! There are way too many spoilers! I grabbed the book from the library on my Kindle and read it in 4 or 5 days. This book will grip you and push you to the edge of your seat. The epilogue is almost as inspiring as the entire book.

The author is from Fairfax, VA - the neighboring county for me.

Also, I have not done a lot of reading on WWII, but don't worry, it doesn't matter if you don't like war books. This is a story with universal appeal. Highly recommended! 1,757 reviews on Amazon with a rating of 5 full stars...

Zamperini’s War

While the body counts mount in Afghanistan and Iraq, another military tally, less wrenching and tragic but poignant nonetheless, quietly proceeds. Every day more than 700 veterans of World War II die, and with each one goes a story, or dozens of them. Laura Hillenbrand reached Louis Zamperini just in the nick of time — he was in his mid-80s when she found him, and 93 now— and it’s an excellent thing, for his is surely one of the most extraordinary war stories of all.

In late May 1943, the B-24 carrying the 26-year-old Zamperini went down over the Pacific. For nearly seven weeks — longer, Hillenbrand believes, than any other such instance in recorded history — Zamperini and his pilot managed to survive on a fragile raft. They traveled 2,000 miles, only to land in a series of Japanese prison camps, where, for the next two years, Zamperini underwent a whole new set of tortures. His is one of the most spectacular odysseys of this or any other war, and “odyssey” is the right word, for with its tempests and furies and monsters, many of them human, Zamperini’s saga is something out of Greek mythology.

That story encompasses an aspect of the American experience during World War II — the cruelty of the Japanese — that, in an era of Toyotas and Sonys and Hideki Matsui, has been almost entirely forgotten. (Forgotten in the United States, that is: Japanese sensitivities on the subject remain sufficiently high that Hillenbrand refuses to identify her translators there.) It’s also yet another testament to the courage and ingenuity of America’s Greatest Generation, along with its wonderful, irrepressible American-style irreverence: just hearing the nicknames — many unprintable here — that the P.O.W.’s bestowed on their guards makes you fall in love with these soldiers.

The author of “Seabiscuit” — the story of a very different, and far less important, kind of miracle — Hillenbrand is particularly well suited to tell this inspiring tale. Apart from a rocky beginning (when, seeming to lack confidence in her main character, she hypes him), she is intelligent and restrained, and wise enough to let the story unfold for itself. Her research is thorough, her writing (even on complicated, technical wartime topics) crystalline. “Unbroken” is gripping in an almost cinematic way. In only one sense does it disappoint, but it’s important: that is, in its portrait of the hero himself.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

Cosima___J
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by Cosima___J » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:18 pm

Keaggy, here's an idea: why not make one post a day on things that particularly interested you? I, for one, would look forward every day to reading the next post.

Actually, I am thinking of doing the same thing with a book I am currently reading: "Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944". The city was cut off from the rest of the world, people were starving to death in massive numbers, unburied corpses were piling up in hospitals, makeshift morgues and cemeteries. People survived by eating glue, etc. A very stirring story about human survival.

Sounds like your book and my book deal with some similar subjects.

Cosi

keaggy220
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by keaggy220 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:16 pm

Cosima___J wrote:Keaggy, here's an idea: why not make one post a day on things that particularly interested you? I, for one, would look forward every day to reading the next post.

Actually, I am thinking of doing the same thing with a book I am currently reading: "Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944". The city was cut off from the rest of the world, people were starving to death in massive numbers, unburied corpses were piling up in hospitals, makeshift morgues and cemeteries. People survived by eating glue, etc. A very stirring story about human survival.

Sounds like your book and my book deal with some similar subjects.

Cosi
I'm afraid I'm not disciplined enough to make daily posts of things that interest me. If I did have that kind of discipline I would try to start a blog and make some money!! :D Maybe I'll try to do something weekly...

I would like to ramp up this book review section though... I read all kinds of stuff - mostly non-fiction, but I force myself to read fiction every third or forth book. I've read a lot of Christian self-improvement books lately - with a few exceptions, most have been forgettable.

In the spirit of Halloween I"m reading a vampire novel called I am Legend. It was written in 1954 and is considered a classic of the genre. There was a movie made about it not long ago staring Wil Smith. I heard the movie was not at all like the book

This is only the second vampire book I've read, the other being Dracula - which I enjoyed, lot of great atmosphere...

I'll keep your book in mind. I don't read a lot of war books, but I enjoyed Unbroken so much that I may start...
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

lennygoran
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:50 pm

>I've read a lot of Christian self-improvement books lately - with a few exceptions, most have been forgettable. <

I agree with you there! Regards, Len :)

keaggy220
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by keaggy220 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:16 pm

lennygoran wrote:>I've read a lot of Christian self-improvement books lately - with a few exceptions, most have been forgettable. <

I agree with you there! Regards, Len :)
I'd love to hear about your exceptions! :wink:
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

lennygoran
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Location: new york city

Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:45 pm

>I'd love to hear about your exceptions!<

There are none--and I didn't even have to read any of them. :) We were in Baltimore today visiting a superb tourist site--the John Hopkins Museum's Evergreen--highly recommended. Anyway we were in an area of Baltimore we never explored before--north st charles ave right past Loyola University--it went on and on--it had a subversively catholic quality to it that gave me the creeps. Regards, Len

Cosima___J
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:41 am

Len, since you are a fellow garden enthusiast, I'm trying to cut you a little slack here. But your anti-religion posts are a bit much. You know what? If you are given the creeps by things religious or things Catholic, my advice to you is to stay away from places associated with religion, especially Catholocism. Loyola is associated with Ignatius Loyola (very much a Christian --- check out his biography link below if you've never heard of him).

An alcoholic should avoid going into bars. An anti-religion person should avoid places that are well known to be religious. Thankfully, we live in a country where you are free to be religious or to have no religious faith at all. Maybe some day you can accept that and put aside your hostility to people and institutions that are religious. Although I am a Christian, I have no hostility to you for your lack of belief. Can't we all just live and let live?

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... ius_Loyola

BTW, if you are ever in South Bend, Indiana, stay away from Notre Dame University. They have a gorgeous mosaic of Jesus on the side of one building. Very beautiful.

lennygoran
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by lennygoran » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:07 pm

> But your anti-religion posts are a bit much.<

But much less so than the tax exemptions you guys are getting away with!

> my advice to you is to stay away from places associated with religion, especially Catholocism. Loyola is associated with Ignatius Loyola (very much a Christian --- check out his biography link below if you've never heard of him).<

I didn't know it was there--anyway it had nothing to do with enjoying Evergreen--but it is right next to that great site!

>They have a gorgeous mosaic of Jesus on the side of one building. Very beautiful.<

Well then I'd be there--hey I visit the Vatican whenever I'm in Rome. Regards, Len

Werner
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by Werner » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:19 pm

"Unbroken" has been on the bst-sellers list so long that I wonder if therer is anyone who doesn't know about it, which would render my comments on it at his time immaterial.

Keaggy mentioned getting it on his Kindle, and that's where I read it early into my Kindle ownership.
I bought it almost by accident - it was about the Pacific war, and my experience had been on the other side of the world, so what would it say to me?

I must tell you thet it srikes me as the most memorable read I've had on that wonderful machine. You know the story - the problem kid grown into an Olympic athlete, the Air Force bombardier shot down over the Pacific and drifting at the mercy of the elements for forty-seven days, winding up on an island in Japanese PW custody. With ctries that would rival any Holocaust stories.

The author, hoeward bound by some disease, I seem to remember, has managed to orgnizeher facts to resemble a fiction novel, told with great skill. But it dawned on me that it was real, and the more remarkable. Highly recommended.
Werner Isler

jbuck919
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:59 pm

lennygoran wrote:>I'd love to hear about your exceptions!<

There are none--and I didn't even have to read any of them. :) We were in Baltimore today visiting a superb tourist site--the John Hopkins Museum's Evergreen--highly recommended. Anyway we were in an area of Baltimore we never explored before--north st charles ave right past Loyola University--it went on and on--it had a subversively catholic quality to it that gave me the creeps. Regards, Len
I only just caught this thread. After seeing Werner's post I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've never heard of this book. I'm also embarrassed to admit that I was never in that museum, although I have been on the Johns Hopkins campus many times for classes and high school academic competitions. But you said nothing about the Baltimore Museum of Art literally next door. Surely you've been there?

I am not sure what you are saying about the Catholic character of the North Charles Street corridor. There is Baltimore's Loyola College (where I also took a course), which is small, modest, and not striking in any way. Then there is the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, affectionately known as MOQ, where I once read the names of graduating seniors from the high school where I taught. It is a hideous building, typical of Catholic architecture of its time, and a scandal in light of the fact that the old cathedral, the Basilica of the Assumption way downtown, which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, is something of the mother church of American Catholicism and widely cited by architects as the most beautiful church in the United States. But the rest of that part of the city is not particularly Catholic, though there are other interesting churches and some prestigious private secondary schools.

If you want a part of a major city that looks like Little Rome, go to Northeast Washington. But I know you've been there. The area around the Shrine is loaded with religious communities and houses of study, not to mention two catholic colleges. There you will still see religious in habits walking down the street.

Image

Image

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

keaggy220
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by keaggy220 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:15 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
lennygoran wrote:>I'd love to hear about your exceptions!<

There are none--and I didn't even have to read any of them. :) We were in Baltimore today visiting a superb tourist site--the John Hopkins Museum's Evergreen--highly recommended. Anyway we were in an area of Baltimore we never explored before--north st charles ave right past Loyola University--it went on and on--it had a subversively catholic quality to it that gave me the creeps. Regards, Len
I only just caught this thread. After seeing Werner's post I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've never heard of this book. I'm also embarrassed to admit that I was never in that museum, although I have been on the Johns Hopkins campus many times for classes and high school academic competitions. But you said nothing about the Baltimore Museum of Art literally next door. Surely you've been there?

I am not sure what you are saying about the Catholic character of the North Charles Street corridor. There is Baltimore's Loyola College (where I also took a course), which is small, modest, and not striking in any way. Then there is the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, affectionately known as MOQ, where I once read the names of graduating seniors from the high school where I taught. It is a hideous building, typical of Catholic architecture of its time, and a scandal in light of the fact that the old cathedral, the Basilica of the Assumption way downtown, which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, is something of the mother church of American Catholicism and widely cited by architects as the most beautiful church in the United States. But the rest of that part of the city is not particularly Catholic, though there are other interesting churches and some prestigious private secondary schools.

If you want a part of a major city that looks like Little Rome, go to Northeast Washington. But I know you've been there. The area around the Shrine is loaded with religious communities and houses of study, not to mention two catholic colleges. There you will still see religious in habits walking down the street.

Image

Image

Here's your assignment: Read the book and report back. I'd be interested in your take...
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

jbuck919
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:42 pm

keaggy220 wrote:Here's your assignment: Read the book and report back. I'd be interested in your take...
WW II was not a human event so much as an eternal thought in the mind of God. Our lives have an added dimension from proximity to it as they do from sharing a language with Shakespeare. The moving stories are endless, but I am afraid that I cannot get excited about reading the latest or next one off the presses.

"Tell brave deeds of war."

Then they recounted tales, --
"There were stern stands
And bitter runs for glory."

Ah, I think there were braver deeds.

--Stephen Crane

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by lennygoran » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:19 pm

> But you said nothing about the Baltimore Museum of Art literally next door. <

Nope the area I was in is not next door to the Art Museum--it's quite a bit north--you'd have a long long walk if you tried to do that walk! And of course we love the Baltimore Museum of Art--you see I like Matisse even more than Picasso!

>I am not sure what you are saying about the Catholic character of the North Charles Street corridor. There is Baltimore's Loyola College (where I also took a course), which is small, modest, and not striking in any way. <

That corridor with Loyola seeming to own most of the property was pretty darn large--in any event Evergreen is a gem!!!

>If you want a part of a major city that looks like Little Rome, go to Northeast Washington. But I know you've been there. <

Agree with you there--but that's Washington--the Loyola corridor was new to us--most of our Baltimore time is the Inner Harbor and Fells Point! Regards, Len

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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:49 pm

lennygoran wrote:> But you said nothing about the Baltimore Museum of Art literally next door. <

Nope the area I was in is not next door to the Art Museum--it's quite a bit north--you'd have a long long walk if you tried to do that walk!
The BMA is literally next door to the Johns Hopkins campus, just to the north of it, rather than to Roland Park and the rest of relatively posh north Baltimore. I know that Len knows that, but I didn't want anyone to think I had forgotten my Baltimore geography. What this points up is that JHU is at the north end of a very ordinary working-class neighborhood, to put it politely.
And of course we love the Baltimore Museum of Art--you see I like Matisse even more than Picasso!
With the exception of its famous Cone Collection of classic 20th century art and its sculpture garden, the BMA is largely a glorified warehous for secondary or worse art (it is a nice building).
Most of our Baltimore time is the Inner Harbor and Fells Point!
Then maybe you've stayed at the Admiral Fell Inn (no fooling, that's what it's called).

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by lennygoran » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:08 am

>The BMA is literally next door to the Johns Hopkins campus, just to the north of it, rather than to Roland Park and the rest of relatively posh north Baltimore.<

The JHU museums are in that posh area--not near the museum.

>With the exception of its famous Cone Collection of classic 20th century art and its sculpture garden, the BMA is largely a glorified warehous for secondary or worse art (it is a nice building). <

That exception makes a trip to the museum a must!!!!!!!

>Then maybe you've stayed at the Admiral Fell Inn (no fooling, that's what it's called).<

Ah if only we could afford it--we've walked right by it. And staying around the Inner Harbor is tough too--we haven't done it yet--the east inner harbor has nice hotels that cost too much but the area just north of the inner harbor are just too close to very questionable walking areas--we just drove thru there less than 3 weeks ago and we didn't like what we saw. Regards, Len

jbuck919
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:15 pm

lennygoran wrote:>The BMA is literally next door to the Johns Hopkins campus, just to the north of it, rather than to Roland Park and the rest of relatively posh north Baltimore.<

The JHU museums are in that posh area--not near the museum.
Aha! Now I get it. Well, as I said, I'm embarrassed that I've never been to the JHU museums at Evergreen. I cannot think how I overlooked them. Also, there is another small Catholic college there, Notre Dame of Maryland. I did know that and just forgot. (In case anyone is interested, the famous medical complex--which brought me back to life in 2003--is also far removed from the main campus, but this time to the east and in another dodgy part of town.)
Ah if only we could afford it--we've walked right by it. And staying around the Inner Harbor is tough too--we haven't done it yet--the east inner harbor has nice hotels that cost too much but the area just north of the inner harbor are just too close to very questionable walking areas--we just drove thru there less than 3 weeks ago and we didn't like what we saw. Regards, Len
You didn't say where you do stay, and I'm not necessarily recommending this for you, but I still would stay at Staybridge or one of the other so-called long-term-stay places in Columbia. If you are ever interested, I can give you several reasons and you can decide whether they're good ones. Of course, for me it has the going-home effect going for it (I lived in Columbia for 15 years and in Maryland for 25).

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by lennygoran » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:49 pm

>You didn't say where you do stay, and I'm not necessarily recommending this for you, but I still would stay at Staybridge or one of the other so-called long-term-stay places in Columbia. If you are ever interested, I can give you several reasons and you can decide whether they're good ones. Of course, for me it has the going-home effect going for it (I lived in Columbia for 15 years and in Maryland for 25).<

We haven't stayed anywhere in Baltimore--we pass through quickly, see a tourist site and proceed home--we're coming back from Washington. We'd like to stay somewhere near the Inner Harbor. We finally made it to Columbia on one trip a few years ago just to check it out--it was always touted in social work school as a model community. We walked and drove around and we liked what we saw--several restaurants you could eat at--still it's a ride from Columbia to Baltimore--wonder if there's public transportation between the 2 places. For example we have no problem riding the Washington Metro from Chevy Chase to Alexandria Va--wonder if you set up a similar plan for Baltimore Inner Harbor to Columbia?

Mapquest says this--by car Columbia to Baltimore is Total Travel Estimate: 25 minutes / 18.23 miles but is there public transportation? Regards, Len

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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:16 pm

lennygoran wrote:>You didn't say where you do stay, and I'm not necessarily recommending this for you, but I still would stay at Staybridge or one of the other so-called long-term-stay places in Columbia. If you are ever interested, I can give you several reasons and you can decide whether they're good ones. Of course, for me it has the going-home effect going for it (I lived in Columbia for 15 years and in Maryland for 25).<

We haven't stayed anywhere in Baltimore--we pass through quickly, see a tourist site and proceed home--we're coming back from Washington. We'd like to stay somewhere near the Inner Harbor. We finally made it to Columbia on one trip a few years ago just to check it out--it was always touted in social work school as a model community. We walked and drove around and we liked what we saw--several restaurants you could eat at--still it's a ride from Columbia to Baltimore--wonder if there's public transportation between the 2 places. For example we have no problem riding the Washington Metro from Chevy Chase to Alexandria Va--wonder if you set up a similar plan for Baltimore Inner Harbor to Columbia?

Mapquest says this--by car Columbia to Baltimore is Total Travel Estimate: 25 minutes / 18.23 miles but is there public transportation? Regards, Len
You will forgive me for thinking that a straight shot and short distance like that with no backups or slowdowns is a cinch as a commute. In comparison, getting to Washington in the other direction, not much farther away mile-wise, is a more typical urban US commuting experience. However, to answer your question, there is no public transportation in the Baltimore direction, probably for the reason I just stated. (There are buses in the Washington direction.)

Anyway, Columbia has nothing to offer the tourist. I only meant that if one had to stay overnight purposefully to be in Baltimore for some reason, it is not a bad option given that you're not likely to be able to afford the Harbor Court Hotel. That will probably never apply to you. But while I'm at it, where do you stay in Washington that's not awful? That's not an easy thing to pull of either. I've stayed a couple of times at the Quality Inn on Connecticut Avenue, but I assume you desire a little more out of your accommodations.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
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Re: Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemp

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:27 am

>Anyway, Columbia has nothing to offer the tourist. <

Exactly my thoughts!

> But while I'm at it, where do you stay in Washington that's not awful? That's not an easy thing to pull of either. <

One key for us is going from Thurs nite to Sunday nite--rates go down considerably--we've had some wonderful accommodations in Arlington and the Chevy Chase of a few weeks ago wasn't chopped liver either--we only want places within walking distance of the Metro btw!

1. Hyatt Arlington Washington 1325 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA, 22209 United States 866-539-0036 The Hyatt Arlington is located four blocks from Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The cemetery grounds were officially designated as a military cemetery in 1864 and now hold more than 300,000 from all the nation's wars. The Lincoln Memorial and the White House are within two miles. The Rosslyn Metro Station is across the street from this Arlington, Va., hotel.
Booking for jan 14 thru jan 17 $109
Available bed types: 2 Double Beds only

2. Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Washington 1333 N Court House Rd, Arlington, VA, 22201 United States 866-539-0036 (Neighborhood average 4.1) $99
Location. The Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza hotel is located in Arlington, Va., adjacent to the Arlington County Courthouse. A Metro station is one block from the hotel and provides transportation to Washington, D.C., two miles away.

The Chevy Chase one was $129--something we can manage If only there were some decent places in Manhattan like this--not even Brooklyn or Queens can cut it hotel wise for us except in the dead of winter. :(

Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase
5520 Wisconsin Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815


Regards, Len

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