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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

4.7 (25563 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Miguel A. Serrano 03-26-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "Just gripping"

    I knew this book would be good, but it exceeded my expectations. The story is superb, and narration spot on. I seldom binge on audiobooks, but I just had to finish this one (it took two days). Hope you enjoy it just as much!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Buck 03-26-15
    Buck 03-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Story
    "Heartfelt"

    What a story. The emotion and passion of both Louis and the other prisoners is unforgettable. What a testimony to the power of a man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Ypsilanti, MI, United States 03-25-15
    Steve Ypsilanti, MI, United States 03-25-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    13
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    "Great book"

    Very well done. Really enjoyed the entire book. And Louie should be an inspiration for everyone, his life was an amazing story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah Windover 03-25-15 Member Since 2014
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "Captivating!"

    Edward Herman's narration was beautifully captivating. This story puts you into the war. Made me laugh and cry and generally couldn't wait to listen to it every day!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-25-15 Member Since 2014

    Standing watch. Learning how to learn.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Inspiration to survive"

    Incredible tale of strength versus adversity. you don't have to be a history or war buff to appreciate every chapter of this story. Will listen to it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesse 03-25-15
    Jesse 03-25-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Above average biography"

    Good story. Well written. The narrator was a perfect fit. I would recommend this book but I doubt I'll re listen to it again

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 03-25-15
    Robin 03-25-15 Member Since 2009
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    26
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    "Incredible story of survival"

    I had to keep reminding myself it was a true story. How someone could endure so much amazes me. I am humbled by the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 03-25-15
    Ryan 03-25-15
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    16
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    Story
    "Great book!"

    Great book! I enjoyed listening very much! I am looking forward to seeing the movie. I will invite my kids to listen as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Witmer 03-25-15
    R. Witmer 03-25-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "High hopes smashed"
    What did you like best about Unbroken? What did you like least?

    I enjoyed learning about the history of the POW camps. At points in the book it seems the author gets stuck trying to get a point across and she keeps going over and over and over and over the same thing. I find myself thinking ok, I got it, they were starving to death...move on already.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The treatment of the POW's. The early childhood back story.


    What three words best describe Edward Herrmann’s performance?

    Dull, Clear, Monotone


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes, just to see how much Hermann's reading distracted from the story


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon Crawfurd ST PETERSBURG, FL USA 03-25-15
    Jon Crawfurd ST PETERSBURG, FL USA 03-25-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More than inspiring"

    This is an exceptional story told with exceptional skill about an exceptional person. Louis "Louie" Zamperini's life is inspiring, but that's not all this book has to offer. It's also a commentary on the American immigration experience, a narrative on the WWII soldier and the impact of war on the individual, a horror story on the sufferings of a POW, and a cautionary tale of the impact on returning to normalcy. The author's personal story is also inspiring, making this a near perfect experience. I don't "gush" about anything, but I can't recommend this book highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Renata Rissi Silva
    3/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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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