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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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  •  
    Amazon Customer Milpitas, CA 09-14-14
    Amazon Customer Milpitas, CA 09-14-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "Took me inside the story from word one"
    Where does Unbroken rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I was mesmerized from the start of the book. It's really 3 amazing lives in one life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lester 09-14-14
    Lester 09-14-14 Member Since 2007
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    17
    1
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    Story
    "STOP WONDERING IF THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU... IT IS!"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    I'm not going to give a literary review since there are plenty of those by more qualified folks. I'm just going to speak to those Audible listeners who (like me) are on the fence about this book. You've seen the title each time you come to the website to use your monthly credit and you've thought about getting this book but aren't sure it's for you. I KNOW YOU! I AM YOU! Just take a leap of faith and GET THIS BOOK! It's an amazing story. As a history nut (yeah... not a Lit major), I thought I new all of the epic survival stories from WW2 but this one took me by surprise. It's fascinating and will keep you engaged. I've taken long drives just to listen. And of course if you've ever heard anything narrated by Edward Herrmann, you don't need me to tell you what a great job he does. SO STOP PROCRASTINATING AND USE YOUR CREDIT... or get it even if your credit hasn't posted yet; it's worth it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami 09-13-14
    Jami 09-13-14 Member Since 2013
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    25
    7
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    Story
    "AMAZING JOURNEY!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I recommend this book to every American! it is a vital part of our history and tells a story that has largely been ignored by people, in favor of making America the "bad guys" for dropping Nuclear bombs on Japan. this is a gutwrenching story of one man's amazing strength and ability to face the worst of mankind.


    What did you like best about this story?

    the details that are so often left out of true stories, especially the brutal truths.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    (Spoiler alert) As I am sure a lot of people will do, I went into this story knowing nothing about it, or what the outcome would be. The liberation of the prison camp and the sheer emotion when the men were finally free of their captors.


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

    The point where Louis went back to Japan and told the guards he forgave them. that took more strength than enduring what he did.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are in doubt about listening to this book just do it. It may start off a little slow, but when the bullets start flying (and the planes) you will not be able to stop listening! I actually went to work early so I could listen during my commute and drove slower so I could get as much in as I could. I can't wait for the movie! if it is half as good as the book it will be the best movie of the year easily!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Griffin 09-12-14 Member Since 2011
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    1
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    "Incredible story of an incredible man."
    What did you love best about Unbroken?

    I flew, and was a flight instructor at Torrance Municipal Airport for over 30 years. I always knew the official name was Zamperini Field, but everyone always referred to it by the FAA name Torrance Airport. I never knew the history of the man it was named after. Knowing it now, I wish pilots would call it Zamperini Airport. That man was awesome and deserves the recognition.


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

    It made me respect the man, whose name I always knew, but whose life I did not know.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter San Francisco, CA, United States 09-10-14
    Peter San Francisco, CA, United States 09-10-14 Member Since 2014

    peterb_sanfran

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My new favorite book"

    Thanks to everyone who recommended this book. The story is amazing, and I really couldn't tell as I read how it would turn out, who would survive, etc. That this is a true story makes it especially gripping.
    I suspect some people may be upset by the depiction of WWII Japanese atrocities, in some ways exceeding in barbarism what the Nazis did, but I think this is based on facts about the "Rape of Nanjing" and the treatment of WWII POW's (1% of POW's under Nazi's died, 37% of POW's under the Japanese died). It is a tough, unsentimental view of the war, yet not lacking in compassion or recognition of those within these awful regimes who saw the atrocities and were shocked at their own side.
    My suggestion? Read it. Make it your next selection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 09-08-14
    Julie 09-08-14 Member Since 2014
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    22
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    "Truely engaging"

    Such an amazing story and so well told by Edward Hermann. Hard to stop listening. Makes me want to just listen to Edward Hermann from now on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet D. Conover Colorado Springs, CO 09-07-14
    Janet D. Conover Colorado Springs, CO 09-07-14 Member Since 2014

    JDC COS

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    3
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    "I couldn't put it down!"
    What would have made Unbroken better?

    Laura Hillebrand spins a tale better than just about anyone!

    The story isn't what I had expected at all but WOW did I ever enjoy it! I finished it in 3 days!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Laura Hillenbrand again?

    yes!


    What didn’t you like about Edward Herrmann’s performance?

    Absolutley nothing! I love his narration!


    What character would you cut from Unbroken?

    No one!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marianne Leeds, MA, United States 09-06-14
    Marianne Leeds, MA, United States 09-06-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Inspiring, informative and unsettling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Even if you have no love of history you will love this story. It captures you at the beginning and doesn't let go... even after you've finished the book. Definitely worth it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The detail of the people and incidents


    Any additional comments?

    Rent this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Si Y 09-05-14
    Si Y 09-05-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Phenomenal!"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    This book is simply superb. Through the horrible and fascinating story of one WWII survivor, the author has created a tribute to all veterans. The story is not only riveting but also educational and informative. For those of us who did not live through the war it is especially enlightening as to how terrible and heart-breaking a time it was for veterans and their families across the world.

    This book is so powerfully written that it may change any preconceived notions you had about WWII, Japan's role in the war and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I had never supported Truman's decision to drop the A-bomb until I read this book. The end justified the means.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew 09-04-14
    matthew 09-04-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I already have. This book captures you immediately and keeps you there. Roller coaster of emotion and gives a point of view of WWII rarely spoken of.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Emerging from the crash and surviving in the Pacific.


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

    The tone of his voice matched the context well.


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

    Laugh mostly. I also felt sorry for him. I could not imagine being put in those situations.


    Any additional comments?

    Read this book!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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