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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

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    Slw 02-28-15
    Slw 02-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Awesome story"

    It was long, but never dull! Wonderful story of how man can rise above even the most horrific experiences and find peace in Christ!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 02-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "I never knew, amazing"

    Inspirational endurance of external and internal struggles, beautifully written and beautifully performed. Thank you Louis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    B 02-28-15
    B 02-28-15 Member Since 2011
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    43
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    "Exceptional"

    I fell into this story. Completing the book in a week even with a busy schedule. The details of Louie's life was incredibly vivid and captivating. The book was well read with great respect given to the subject. I would recommend this book to anyone especially history enthusiasts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    David 02-28-15
    David 02-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Somewhat slow initially, became epic by the end."

    Great narration, great organization of the story. One initial feeling I had was that I learned a lot about the main character's early life, like autobiographic-type info, it nearly seemed too specific. But in a few chapters, the book to be headlong into the meat of his war career. Old war stories are fascinating to me, and they humble me by reminding me how rough previous generations had it in the WW's. Unbroken is a crazy story that does an impeccable job of painting truly miraculous, awesome, terrifying landscapes for these Airborne crews. I often found my mouth agape in astonishment. Even still, many parts of the book seem almost boring because there's no way, just no way that it's possible for captured men to be beaten lifeless day after day for years on end.... that kind of thing seems Hollywood. I felt like it just drifted by my senses because it seems so rote and familiar. Well shame on Hollywood, because the men of this book lived that stuff in grossly real ways. Unbroken was gripping, such that I felt pulled back to the book even when I was too busy to hear more of it. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Skokie, illinois 02-27-15
    Amazon Customer Skokie, illinois 02-27-15 Member Since 2013
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    "literally unbelievable"

    it started. slow but picked after the crash. I doubt if it was a true portrayal .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Houston Kissimmee, FL, United States 02-27-15
    Houston Kissimmee, FL, United States 02-27-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Stupendous Story!"

    This more than met my expectations. The narrator was superb. Just when it seemed the end was near the action picked up to the point it seemed impossible for any of the characters not to give up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    patricia 02-27-15
    patricia 02-27-15 Member Since 2013
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    14
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    "Much Better Than the Movie"
    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    Mr. Herrmann was very clear and provided separation between characters


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

    Several tense moments and cringing with the descriptions during flight and during POW encampment.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Cannary 02-27-15
    The Cannary 02-27-15 Member Since 2011
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    "One of my all time favorite books"

    Just incredible. If you do not read this book before you die, see if Heaven has a library, check it out, find a comfy cloud, and read it cover to cover.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 02-27-15
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    "Best true story ever!"

    I loved the detail of every bit of the story of Louie Zamperini's life. Couldn't put the audible book down. It makes the trauma in my life look like a party. All I can do is smile and be thankful for my life and thankful for what God can do to a shattered and utterly broken human being. It's obvious God turned that man's pain into something very beautiful. I'm in awe! This is a must-read for all mankind. The movie doesn't hold a candle to the depth of emotion that's in the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Kimberly L. Underwood St. Louis, MO 02-27-15
    Kimberly L. Underwood St. Louis, MO 02-27-15 Member Since 2014

    friendliestflower

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    "Must Read!"

    Incredible! This book will not soon leave you!
    Loved every minute of it! The detail was haunting but necessary. Loved

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Renata Rissi Silva
    3/21/15
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    "It's a definitely must-read book"
    What did you like most about Unbroken?

    An extremely interesting, involving and touching story. No doubt, one of the best I’ve heard!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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