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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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  •  
    Stephanie LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA, United States 10-14-14
    Stephanie LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA, United States 10-14-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unbelievable!"
    Any additional comments?

    The fact that this is a true story is UNreal!! You couldn't make up a better story. Very worth the listen, Hermann was great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Johnson Cross Plains, WI USA 10-13-14
    Rob Johnson Cross Plains, WI USA 10-13-14 Member Since 2014
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    Story
    "My day wasn't so bad..."
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Never give up.


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

    Hearing about the daily beatings and starvation made me, a born again Christian and Army Ranger, want to kill The Bird. To hear how all of the POWs didn't seek immediate revenge and Louie forgave The Bird after getting saved had tears streaming down my face. I'm glad I was in the car.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Torrance, CA, United States 10-10-14
    Stephen Torrance, CA, United States 10-10-14 Member Since 2014
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    "A truly amazing story!"

    I grew up in Torrance, CA and so am very familiar with Mr. Zamperini, but I was still blown away by this book. It is so well written and well read. A true tribute to an amazing man!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas J. Tague NH 10-06-14
    Thomas J. Tague NH 10-06-14 Member Since 2014

    ttague2005

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    12
    3
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    Story
    "This is the finest book I have ever experienced"
    Where does Unbroken rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Number 1.


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    Angela's Ashes. Unbroken is the most inspirational book I have ever "read". The triumph over hatred and despair is truly moving.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Louis overcoming being spiked and not striking back at other cheaters.


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

    It is going to be a movie and comes out in a couple of months.


    Any additional comments?

    For new Audible users, this is the best possible introduction. The narrator is amazing, the author gifted, and the story simply amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Neumar LI, NY 09-28-14
    L. Neumar LI, NY 09-28-14 Member Since 2009

    craft lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Redemption"
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    The narrator was clear and strong sounding, in keeping with the characters of the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It had to be Louis Zamperini, about whom this story was written.


    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But I would not hesitate to listen to a story read by him again.


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

    I think when Louis's mother welcomed him home.


    Any additional comments?

    The story was told in a way that revealed how incomprehensibly cruel human beings can be to one another while alternatively highlighting the will of the human spirit to overcome what seems sometimes to be impossible odds and conditions. A little slow in parts of the beginning, but worth the effort to continue turning the pages.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joseph mcquillan 09-23-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Our greatest generation never forgotten!"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Capturing, educational, emotional


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    Currently...none


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Can't pick. Laura does a great job telling the story of a downed bomber during World War II.


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

    R. this movie would make both women and men cry. What the men of World War II went through is unthinkable to the current generation. As a great news anchor's special stated, "the greatest generation".


    Any additional comments?

    I would love to see this real life story come to the pictures. Unpopular or not keep the hard stuff to handle. It makes the stuff my grandfather and others went through realistic. louis zamperini's recount of the duck is clearly a sticking point that needs to be explained.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie 09-22-14
    Valerie 09-22-14

    Career Mom & Wife

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    5
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    "The best book out there right now! Wow."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unbroken to be better than the print version?

    I find no diff other than listening to Audible can be a productive experience when doing brainless chores like laundry/housework/driving/walking dogs.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Billy Graham's part and Louis' reaction/change.


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

    Accuracy.


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

    Very extreme. I feel like this story should be a mandatory read for kids in high or middle school. If my child knew more of the times not too far back in our American history, I'm sure she would have a great deal more appreciation for how we have it now. I know I do.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best books ever written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Frazier 09-15-14
    Amy Frazier 09-15-14

    I like to read, and with less time these days, I like to listen to books.

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    "Fantastic Book!"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Perseverance. Struggle. Forgiveness.


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    It is a modern classic and could only be compared to novels, classics, that stand the test of time.


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

    Exceptionally well narrated. Helped bring it to life.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved "Unbroken." It is one of the best books I have ever read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Milpitas, CA 09-14-14
    Amazon Customer Milpitas, CA 09-14-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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    "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
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