Your Letters: Laura Hillenbrand; Dan Schorr

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Host Scott Simon reads from a collection of listeners' letters. They include responses to his interview with Laura Hillenbrand about her new book, which tells the story of World War II fighters and their experiences in a Japanese prison camp, and the late NPR senior news analyst Dan Schorr's conversation with his son for National Day of Listening.


We've got a Saturday mail delivery of our own to share with you now. Time for letters.

(Soundbite of typing and music)

SIMON: Last week, we spoke with Laura Hillenbrand about her new book "Unbroken," the story of Louie Zamperini - how he and other flyers survived a plane crash and a prison camp during World War II.

Ms. LAURA HILLENBRAND (Author, "Unbroken"): He had to figure out how to get water on the raft. He had to figure out how to catch that next fish. And these are all kind of immediate concerns that he could deal with physically. And, you know, meanwhile the damage was being done to him emotionally.

SIMON: Heidi Hornbacher of Los Angeles shares this recollection: I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Zamperini as a neighbor. One day out for a walk, I ran into him. After a lively chat he gave me an autographed copy of his autobiography, "Devil at My Heels," which tells the same story.

Ms Hornbacher continues: He told me his book had been optioned by several big name stars, but the production had fallen through, as they often do. Mr. Zamperini is a lovely man and I'm glad his story will get wider exposure with this new telling.

We heard from plenty of birders after our story about my birding trip with Don and Lillian Stokes, who just published "The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America."

Jennifer Jones of Alabaster, Alabama, writes: I dropped the hairdryer, I was laughing so hard, when I heard the smooth milk chocolate voice of Scott Simon squeal like a child on Christmas morning at the sight of a mallard duck. A man who has traveled the world and interviewed the famous had his breath taken away by a duck.

Lots of comments too about my essay on the death of Target, a hero dog that stopped a suicide bomber from entering U.S. military barracks in Afghanistan. Target came home and was accidentally euthanized at a shelter in Arizona.

Lee Heller of Summerland, California, writes: Although I was moved, I was also disturbed that the most obvious point did not get made. If Target, the dog wrongly euthanized at the shelter, had been wearing a collar and ID tag, she would most likely still be alive. The shelter staff would've known who she was and not ended her life because of mistaken identity.

In honor of the National Day of Listening, we aired an excerpt from a conversation that the late Dan Schorr, our friend and NPR's senior news analyst, recorded with his son Jonathan.

DAN SCHORR: I love it when people say I listen to you on the air. I may still have that kind of vanity. And why aren't I retired? Because what's the fun in retiring?

SIMON: Timothy Berg of Muncie, Indiana writes: I just wanted to say how nice it was to hear Dan Shorr's voice again this morning. Perhaps you can find a way to do that every so often, even if it means you have to play his commentary on an old news story. Just hearing his voice makes me feel good. I miss him so.

Well, so do we. We welcome your comments. Just go to our website,, and click on the Contact Us link. You can also reach us on Twitter. I'm NPRScottSimon, all one word. Our staff is at NPRWeekend. Our Facebook page is

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