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)
Just when you think it can't get any worse. This was an excellent book, a wonderful story, and a great performance. The statistics about how many people died in noncombat situations is astonishing. This book will stay on my mind for a while.
What a story! I will be recommending this to everyone. Redemption and forgiveness and the sheer humanity of it make it quite a remarkable life to hear.
As you listen, you are transported into the liferaft with Louis Zamperini; you feel the blows of "The Bird's" fists; you groan for his marriage after the war; you celebrate His new found faith!
The misery of the POWs unloading the coal barges contrasted with the hope that each new flight of B-29s overhead brought to them.
Herrmann's performance is unparallelled. He is a supreme story teller.
Zamperini's conversion to Christ and the end of his nightmares.
Exceeded expectations! What an incredible story - I couldn't stop listening. The narrator was fantastic. Between his performance and the author's unbelievable detail and description, I felt like I was in Japan with the POWs. It made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.
It's a shame the children of this country have become so entitled and weak. What the POWs went through during WWII is unspeakable. Young people today wouldn't last a week without their electronics and Fiji water...these POWs would be ashamed to see how this entitled country has changed.
Thank you to the brave men and women that have fought for our country so that we can be free and live a life of our choosing. I am grateful for their sacrifice and for their family's sacrifice.
God Bless America
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