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
"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)
I generally don't enjoy history stories because they never grab my attention but this one had me hooked! I listened to the whole thing in a matter of 2 days. Seriously, fantastic.
The strength and integrity of Louis Zamporini shines through every minute of this story that is expertly told both by author and narrator. I am not generally a World War II buff, but this story reached me and I simultaneously wanted to reach the end and never wanted to. This is a story I will never forget. I recommend this to just about anyone.
Listening with interest
I loved the performance, kept me on the edge of my seat (literally, I was listening in my car) as the actors transported me to WW2 .
The time on the life raft was chilling and inspirational
An outstanding, moving, incredulous story. I had not known the horror of the Japanese POW camps, nor had I imagined that someone could live through them. What an inspiring story.
This is the BEST book I have ever read or listened to! You will not regret this purchase!
I enjoyed the style of writing and the detail that was just enough to make me feel a part of the story. The tedium of Louis Zamperini's exhausting trials were portrayed through words and length and description.
There were so many. Not wanting to ruin the story for another reader, suffice it to say I most remember the moments when through all calamity, misery or pain, Louis Zamperini showed the strength of character that amazes and inspires me to rise to greater heights.
Can't say or it would ruin the story for another.
Again, there were so many that made me reflect on my life's trials and how I handle them and how much we can actually get through and not only survive but thrive.
This book was long and exhausting but only because I felt like I had to suffer along with Mr. Zamperini and so wanted to get him out! It is our trials more than our triumphs that help us to grow. He was a giant of a person and proved it throughout the rest of his life.
listening works for me and gives me a richer picture of a story like this
the development of the story spanned the entire lifetime progression of this real person. it allowed the reader/listener some feelings without overwhelming the story with any unrealistic perspectives relating to these unrealistic circumstances. my imagination was easily able to fit between the details in the story. it was discreetly graphic to a polite cautious unoffensive extent while still exposing horrific events. it was devoid of arrogance or ego and allowed the instinct to survive ring throughout.
his wonderful voice contributed to letting the story come thru without being monotone and delivering a thrilling involvement for the reader/listener the full flavor of the author's story for our surviving hero.
I was humbled with the endurance that person can be capable of surviving. I was sorrowed by the lasting physiological affects these experiences have on people then joyed by the redemption one acquires with maturity.
the motivations for and in war may never be completely understood. someday we may abandoned this as a human endeavor. the darkness of what evil resides within people under such circumstances goes beyond imagination.
I listen in the car while i drive. I have eclectic tastes in books and if it interests me I listen till its over.
The fact that somehow you knew Zamporini would come thru it and be ok.
Robbing his way thru Germany and the olympics.
It can't be listened to in one sitting. It is too intense. I had to take a day or two off before i could go back to some scenes.
No matter how scared you get or worried he won't come thru listen on. Somehow he makes you feel ok with it.
My hopes were high for this story, because it had been so highly recommended. I was just a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong - the story's an amazing one, and the author seems to do a decent enough job of catching the story. It's a good portrait of some amazing people. Just not in the outstanding category for me personally in terms of storytelling.
I love books! They have always added so much to my world. Between being a busy mom, having a demanding career, and keeping my household running smoothly, I have zero free time to just sit and read a book. Audible allows me to keep up with my reading (or "reading") while I'm working or driving or cooking or cleaning the house. I enjoy that so much - I love Audible!
Yes! It is a fascinating story, which also gives amazing insight into a critical time in history. It is so humbling to learn what was endured by our Pacific P.O.W's. The core message that I received from the book is that man's true strength lies in his capacity for endurance and resilience.
I loved most of the characters, even the awful ones, because they were so believable. The author does such a good job of developing and humanizing her characters - even when they are unimaginably evil people.
I love his voice - he added gravitas to the book. Also, his inflection helped me to better understand some of the Japanese terms that I might have struggled with in reading the book.
I could have listened to it all in one sitting, although it was a bit too long for that to be practical. I listened to it all over a few days while doing housework, etc. It was excellent and I definitely got a lot more done just to have an excuse to listen a bit longer each time.
I am very moved and inspired by this book. I learned so much that I did not already know about the Pacific War. Also, it reminded me that humans can be so resilient and have such a capacity to endure the unendurable, process the effects, and then seek happiness in whatever new form it takes. It is quite a life affirming message in the midst of a horrific history of the Pacific P.O.W.'s experiences.
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