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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Kylyn Vancouver, WA, United States 09-20-12
    Kylyn Vancouver, WA, United States 09-20-12
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    REVIEWS
    1
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    "A Must Listen. You will be googling Louie"
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    The drama and depth of the characters


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Louie.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    Overall his performance was superb.


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

    Couldn't stop. A truely GREAT read and picture into history.


    Any additional comments?

    Would recommend to anyone who loves history, romance, and true crime...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jud 09-19-12
    jud 09-19-12
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    "WOW!!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book is beautifully written, flawlessly performed and speaks to anyone who has flown an aircraft in harm's way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Codger Hyannis, MA USA 09-19-12
    Codger Hyannis, MA USA 09-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    5
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    "I read this book, and then listened to it."

    Laura Hillenbrand has done another excellent job researching and writing. Her characterizations are clear and compelling. The story is better than any fiction that I have read in a long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn 09-18-12
    Carolyn 09-18-12
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    "Hillenbrand has done it again. Well done."

    I thought I had enough of WWII storytelling and was reluctant to buy this book. I did so based on how much I enjoyed her previous best seller (I love horses) and of course, the online reviews. I was not disappointed. The story was moving, well told and kept me interested, though I knew the hero had made it out alive. The ending got a bit soppy, but overall it was a good "read".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marci GREENVILLE, NC, United States 09-17-12
    marci GREENVILLE, NC, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2010
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    9
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    "Beautiful story"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Although I am an atheist, I find it so inspirational when someone finds the faith necessary to conquer their demons and then to forgive those demons on top of it.


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

    A story of survival, resilience, and redemption. Leave out World War II


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Esther Gettysburg, PA, United States 09-17-12
    Esther Gettysburg, PA, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2012
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    1
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    "A must read for all"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    From the very beginning I was caught up in this powerful story. Upon meeting young Louis and his family, I wanted to hear more about their life, more importantly, his life. To see how this boy grew into a man who would endure so many hardships that war inevitably brings is an inspiration to all. Laura Hillenbrand once again does an excellent job telling a story of real people and events that defines courage and bravery.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Ashland, OR, United States 09-17-12
    Dan Ashland, OR, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2011
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    34
    1
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    Story
    "Wow! Why haven't I heard this story before?"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Sacrifice. Inspiring. Redemption


    What did you like best about this story?

    Inventiveness


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Sharks jumping out of the water at Louie.


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

    Louie returns to Japan to reconnect. My father could never do that after fighting at Okinawa.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Kaysville, UT, United States 09-17-12
    Bill Kaysville, UT, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2003
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    "This was a great read."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Most definately!


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    This is like the Old Man and the Sea meets Indiana Jones. The action is non-stop.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were many scenes. His overcoming his fear of the "Bird", the survival on the raft, being chased while buck naked as a child, the description of the air ship blotting out the stars and his wonder come quickly to mind.


    Any additional comments?

    Lara Hillenbrand did a wonderful job of telling a complex story in an interesting and moving way. She is a great story teller. Ed Herman brings a wonderfulmlife to an already compelling story. I couldn't stop listening to it. I highly recommend this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. M. McInteer Lincoln, NE 09-17-12
    E. M. McInteer Lincoln, NE 09-17-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent book...one of the best!"
    Where does Unbroken rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I am an amateur historian, and have read & listened to hundreds of books on wars, soldiering, etc. over the past 20+ years since first being drawn into the subject. Some of the most horrific are the POW stories, and they can turn your stomach. Having read other accounts of Japanese POWs from the war, I was prepared for that part, but what caught me off guard was everything else! Ms. Hillenbrand does a wonderful job of painting the scenes of dispair after the crash. She also makes me feel as though we can see inside Zamperini's soul when describing his post war troubles. This book is a well written uplifting work, and lest I forget, Mr. Herrmann's reading of the piece is fantastic. This is a must for every personal library.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The weave of the tale...wraps you up, pulls you in and holds you close.


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

    Come on, he could read a Microsoft technical manual and make it interesting.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle INT Winston Salem, NC 09-17-12
    Kindle INT Winston Salem, NC 09-17-12 Member Since 2012

    Kindle INT

    ratings
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    6
    6
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    "Awesome book!"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    Absolutely. Its a fascinating book about the will to survive under several incredible adverse situations. Once more the WW II history is fascinating.


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

    Louie Zamparini.


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

    No. This is a long book. Its worth the time to marinate on the various events between scenes.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book w/ an ending that surprised me. Its a true testament to the internal fortitude of man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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