By Paul Costello in Stanford Medicine.
She is an author of extraordinary success. Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Unbroken are literary phenomenons: Together, there are more than 13 million copies in print, and both have been made into blockbuster motion pictures. Seabiscuit, published in 2001, tells the story of a racehorse that captured America’s heart during the Great Depression. Unbroken, published in 2010, is the biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, who survived a bomber crash into the Pacific and more than 2½ years as a prisoner of war in Japan. Hillenbrand wrote the books while besieged by chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME/CFS, which has at times ravaged her like a tidal wave. Stricken in 1987, she has endured vertigo and exhaustion so severe that for many years she was incapacitated and housebound.
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