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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

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  •  
    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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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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    "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
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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
  •  
    stacy bezama 06-04-12
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    "Simply Breathtaking!"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    This book touches your heart and everytime you want to break down, there's hope. This is an amazing book of resiliency, brotherhood, and spirit. Louis Zamperini expemplifies human strength and character.


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

    The narration of the story tunes in to the emotion that is carried throughout. Beautiful.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I cried several times, but the part that overtook me was when Zamperini returned to the United States, returned to his family and home yet didn't quite belong. The emotional terror that he continued to experience broke my heart.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Mccloskey Grosse Pointe Woods, MI, United States 06-03-12
    J. Mccloskey Grosse Pointe Woods, MI, United States 06-03-12

    Live life smell the roses and rejoice.

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    "One of the best book I ever"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Incredible inspiring fantastic


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

    Mr. Louis Zamparini


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

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    A truly fantastic book that if you have anyone in the military you should listen to it and remember the sacrifices that are made.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami Boise, ID, United States 05-31-12
    Jami Boise, ID, United States 05-31-12 Member Since 2010
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    7
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    "How Can This Be Real???!!!"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Absolutely enthralling book


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Louis Zamprini, of course!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    So amazed when they were rescued from the sea, only to be thrown in the POW camp, which was worse...who knew?


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

    More than one man should ever have to bear


    Any additional comments?

    Edward Hermann was a genius and a fantastic pick for this book. I found myself sitting in my car, determined to find out the fate of Zamprini...only to have to wait until I was driving again. Just when I thought he couldn't handle any more, more was thrown at him, and he kept surviving! Amazing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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