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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption | [Laura Hillenbrand]

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Whether your listening preferences usually point you to history tomes, adventure thrillers, or fiction with well-developed characters, Unbroken will hook you...and won’t let go. Laura Hillenbrand, previously of Seabiscuit fame, tells the fascinating story of Louis Zamperini – troubled youth, Olympic athlete, airman, and survivor – and you won’t believe how interested you’ll become in even the tiniest of details of his life. Much of that interest is thanks to narrator Edward Herrmann, who elevates this tremendous example of narrative nonfiction to masterful storytelling. — Diana D.

Publisher's Summary

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.

Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

©2010 Laura Hillenbrand; ©2010 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Unbroken is wonderful twice over, for the tale it tells and for the way it’s told. A better book than Seabiscuit, it manages maximum velocity with no loss of subtlety. [Hillenbrand has] a jeweler’s eye for a detail that makes a story live." (Newsweek)

"A master class in narrative storytelling…Extraordinarily moving...A powerfully drawn survival epic." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Ambitious and powerful… Hillenbrand is intelligent and restrained, and wise enough to let the story unfold for itself. Her research is thorough, her writing crystalline. Unbroken is gripping in an almost cinematic way." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (12403 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Duane 08-23-12
    Duane 08-23-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Amazing A++++"

    This is a must read, especially for Torrance natives, like myself. What an amazing story. I'd say one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. I'm off to purchase the hard cover for my bookshelf. Do not second guess - just buy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marty Gass N Las Vegas, NV, US 08-22-12
    Marty Gass N Las Vegas, NV, US 08-22-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A Tribute to one of the Greatest Generation"

    Hillenbrand has written a masterpiece. This is more than an epic biography. It is a singular work which transports the reader into the triumphs and tragedies of the Second World War.

    All of us owe all we have to the tens of thousands "Louis Zamperini's" of that "Greatest Generation". This magnificent work is an honor and tribute to them.

    Lest we ever forget the incredible sacrifices they made, we all may take heed from an admonition, written in 1598:

    "This story shall the good man teach his son...From this day to the ending of the world..."

    - from Henry V by William Shakespeare, 1598

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul BLOOMSBURG, PA, United States 08-22-12
    Paul BLOOMSBURG, PA, United States 08-22-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Outstanding!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, the narrator tells the story brilliantly.


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    N/A


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene in which Louis went to see "the Bird". He was able to forgive and forget despite the pain.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Burlington, ON, Canada 08-21-12
    john Burlington, ON, Canada 08-21-12 Member Since 2012
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    "over the top"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I found the story to be unrealisic. I'm sure it was based on fact but logic suggest liberal exageration in the descrioption of events. the perfornance was exellant


    Would you ever listen to anything by Laura Hillenbrand again?

    possibly


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginger Beckstead AUBURN, WA, US 08-21-12
    Ginger Beckstead AUBURN, WA, US 08-21-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Just finished and loved it"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I began to feel that his troubles would never end. It was so depressing. I commented to my husband (we were listening together) that only finding God could take away his pain. I was then almost surprised. It strengthened my faith.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me cringe and cry.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandi United States 08-20-12
    Brandi United States 08-20-12
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    "Excellent"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    Absolutely! It was such an amazing story. I loved this book, the story, the characters, all divine!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly San Clemente, CA, United States 08-20-12
    Kelly San Clemente, CA, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Loved this book!"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    I wouldn't listen to it again just because I'm the kind of person that doesn't generally go back and re-read or re-listen to a book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Realizing the internal strength of the POW men.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He really brought the book to life for me. I felt that I had a wise teacher reading a story to me. I believe reading the book would have gotten me a little too mired down in the details. I've heard from a few of my friends that read this book that it had so many details that it was hard to get through. Having the book read to me made it easier to take in.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charlotte ducote YOUNGSVILLE, LA, US 08-20-12
    charlotte ducote YOUNGSVILLE, LA, US 08-20-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Exceptional book!"

    Definitely a must read! I usually shy away from history or WWII books, but this one kept my attention. Knowing that it was a true story made it much more enjoyable!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Mastic, NY, United States 08-20-12
    Jane Mastic, NY, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Story of a true hero"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    Perhaps, after a while. Although it was a terrific story, it was difficult to hear some of the horrendous conditions Zamperini had to endure.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Yes, I never cared for history as a child, but as I've gotten older I love learning about real people and their real life hardships and achievements.


    Which character – as performed by Edward Herrmann – was your favorite?

    Absolutely, Laura Hillenbrand is a very talented writer who wove the story of Louie Zamperini's life from his childhood to athletic achievements, courage in the face of torture, romance and finally, his faith journey in such a way that you really felt like you knew him , his family, friends and comrades. The book opens with a scene that is absolutely riveting and it keeps you enthralled like a good novel!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Nothing I can think of.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was so well done it makes me want to look into other books by this author. Bravo!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy VANCOUVER, WA, United States 08-19-12
    Wendy VANCOUVER, WA, United States 08-19-12 Member Since 2000
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    "Stranger than fiction"

    You just can't make this story up. Louis is a complex guy. But how he managed to survive is beyond amazing. It's a story of resilience without making him out to be a hero. Just a human being like the rest of us who managed to come through. And you just have to wonder at the darkness of humanity that let such horrors happen. That he then found the grace to forgive is even more amazing. Edward Hermann's narration does it all justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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