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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 (11045 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 06-23-12
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 06-23-12 Member Since 2007

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inspiring and touching"

    This book is a must read for all Americans. It truly is an insipring story of survival, resilience and redemption, as the title states. I carved out every minute I could to spend time with this book and find out what would happen to Louie next, how he might, or might not, survive, and what would become of his friends.

    Hillenbrand expertly tells the stories of Louie's trials and tribulations during the war--the harrowing air battles, the friendships made and the lives that were lost.

    Hermann's narration was, as always, excellent. The only reason for the rating of 4 instead of 5 is that he didn't prounounce Ephrata correctly and having to listen to him incorrectly say it over and over just about made be crazy. I was glad when Louie left training so I didn't have to hear "EFreta" instead of "eFRAYtah" any more.

    While the redemption part of the story is the shortest part of the book, it is the most important and most inspiring.

    Thank you, Louie Zamperini, for serving your country and allowing this story to be told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Morgan Tennesse 06-23-12
    W. Morgan Tennesse 06-23-12 Member Since 2005

    I favor history, non-fiction, lectures, and the occasional purely fictitious work. I also listen to many children's books with my family.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best listen this year, and that's saying a lot!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    The story was, simply put, amazingly well told. The narration was perfect. I found the tale so moving that I have talked it up to a number of friends.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Really the only character of note is Zamperini - what an amazing person and amazing life.


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

    I'm a big fan of Edward's readings. He reads Unbroken incredibly well and can be equally brilliant on children's stories like Geronimo Stilton... what a great reader.


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

    Yes... this book is very moving. If this story doesn't move you then I suggest you check for paralysis.


    Any additional comments?

    Just get the book ... it's not a top Audible audiobook for no reason. I was, foolishly, reluctant but fell into the deep end in just a few minutes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK, United States 06-19-12
    Carolyn HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK, United States 06-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Unbroken- A Story of Resilence"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unbroken to be better than the print version?

    For this type of emotional story, I preferred the audio edition,because I was able to replay and reflect on the emotional issues..


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    The story " Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet" reflects on the treatment of Japanese in America."Unbroken" allows the reader to understand why the Japanese were not trusted.


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

    The main character, Louis Zamperini has STRONG Character One can only admire his presistence and determination to encounter many degrading acts and was able to forgive his offenders.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No,I like to reflect on portions of a story. Therefore,I listened to it in several sessions.


    Any additional comments?

    " Unbroken" is a very interesting and emotional true story. I learned many facts and became aware of historial events that took place in this country and the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggiemai Hudson Falls, NY United States 06-18-12
    Maggiemai Hudson Falls, NY United States 06-18-12

    ~*~Maggie~*~

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    "Incredible"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitely recommend this audiobook to anyone! The reader had such a wonderful voice and I understood every word. The story was very captivating... it brought me in and kept me interested the whole time. I loved this book even though I'm not usually a reader of this type of story! It was Great!


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    I can't even give a book I might compare this to because it's the first book of it's kind that I've ever read. War stories aren't normally my cup of tea but this was amazing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene... so many favorites! I guess it would be when Louis spoke on the radio and people who knew his family recognized him and knew it was really him.


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

    An incredible story of strength, determination, faith and family!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Dooley 06-13-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great book - spell binding"
    What did you love best about Unbroken?

    I felt like I was living through the war with Louie


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Louie and his best friend - they were/are heros


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the duldrums


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Treutel 06-13-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Great Book!"

    Wonderful book. Real, suspenseful, at times agonizing. I enjoyed it very much. Well worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark ashburn, VA, United States 06-13-12
    Mark ashburn, VA, United States 06-13-12 Member Since 2010
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    "One of my favorites in years"
    What did you like best about this story?

    It is a true story. It follows so many different trails, but the author does a wonderful job tying the details together. A random aside in one chapter becomes a key plot element in the next. Very well written. Intensely emotional. And inspiring story of the depths and heights of the human condition.


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

    Definitely a book that will have you glued to every page with excitement, fear, and sadness.


    Any additional comments?

    For both fiction and nonfiction fans I highly recommend this book. I read mostly business and Tom Clancy books. My wife reads nora roberts and we both loved this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    helle VANCOUVER CANADA, BC, Canada 06-11-12
    helle VANCOUVER CANADA, BC, Canada 06-11-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Absolutely great book"
    What did you love best about Unbroken?

    I liked that it is based on fact


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

    It is a hard book to read because it is about the cruelty of the Japenase to pows.
    This is certainly not all the book is about it is truly a great story about a 4min. ruunner and his life .


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen San Francisco, CA, United States 06-09-12
    Stephen San Francisco, CA, United States 06-09-12 Member Since 2004

    Fictional characters in narrative

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Expect the best from yourself"

    The truehearted listener will enjoy this tale of a player keeping the faith so to speak.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Yarmouth, ME, United States 06-07-12
    Katherine Yarmouth, ME, United States 06-07-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing story and interesting insight into WWII"

    On a human level a remarkable story; on a historical level gives insight into the treatment American POW's by Japanese.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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