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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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  •  
    C. Berg Rock Springs, WY 04-10-12
    C. Berg Rock Springs, WY 04-10-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Powerful"

    This audio book caught me from the first sentence. This has never happened to me before, though I have listened to a few of Edward Hermann's narrations and many other great audio books. He has the ability to not take over the book, but deliver it with the proper emotions and feelings for the subject. This book was fantastic, never lagging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Sherman Oaks, CA, United States 04-07-12
    Peter Sherman Oaks, CA, United States 04-07-12
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    "One of the best books I have ever ready"

    I could not stop listening to this powerful, heartbreaking story. The experience and suffering was so powerful. It would be hard to believe if it were fiction, the fact that it is true made me stretch my imagination and realm of what humans can inflict on others and how someone can tolerate and then thrive under continually brutal circumstances.

    A remarkable story, incredibly well written and performed. Not to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth United States 04-05-12
    Ruth United States 04-05-12

    rtbabb

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    "Unbroken in unforgettable"
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    The vanquish over pure evil - experiencing gut-wrenching horrors to tears of joy.


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

    When McArthur and Harris were seen together, I shed tears. The death of the duck is a scene I would like to forget, but never will.


    Any additional comments?

    Whenever I feel sorry for myself, I will think of his flea-bitten, maggot-infested body and his toils in filth - no better cure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Atticus North Carolina 04-05-12
    Atticus North Carolina 04-05-12 Member Since 2003
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    "A Must Must Read"

    This is a fabulous book. Beautifully written with perfect timing in all areas: comedy, tragedy, suspense, pathos. I listen to books as I walk to work and I found myself laughing out loud at some of the dialogue. The story is unforgettable and deeply moving. Laura Hillenbrand should be justly proud of an amazing achievement. This is truly a must read for everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer ROSCOE, IL, United States 03-31-12
    Jennifer ROSCOE, IL, United States 03-31-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great piece of history!"

    This was tough to listen to at times, but very engaging. I felt like I was there...it made history come alive for me. When I finished the book, I did a little more research and thought about the experience. To me, that is the true sign of a good book - the impact it has AFTER you have read the final page.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Brookfield, MO, United States 03-29-12
    Laura Brookfield, MO, United States 03-29-12

    Lauree

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    "I'd Be Dead."
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    Knowing it was/is a true story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    The days spent in the water with nothing to eat, talking about food. Talking, talking and talking....men don't talk. Or do they?


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

    Zamperlini!!


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

    No, there was too much to think about.


    Any additional comments?

    I've heard other books by Edward Herrmann....good choice. It really made me think of how horrible war is, how cruel humans are and how loving God is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marthinus Grande Prairie, AB, Canada 03-26-12
    Marthinus Grande Prairie, AB, Canada 03-26-12 Member Since 2010
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    "WOW!"
    Where does Unbroken rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was the best ever. Well writen. An amazing story, which is so good that one has to remind yourself that this is a true story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    From the first word to the last.


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

    He read the story well, but without taking anything from the reader, this book and story is extra ordinary.


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

    It grips you by the throat and pulls you along as if floating helplessly on a sea current.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope someone is making a movie out of this. If made well it can be bigger than Titanic and Ben Hur.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren ARKADELPHIA, AR, United States 03-23-12
    Lauren ARKADELPHIA, AR, United States 03-23-12 Member Since 2011
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    "One of the best books I've EVER read!!"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Inspiring, eye-opening, and fascinating!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing was one of my favorite aspects of this book. The way the story was told was top-notch. The actual story was inspirational and also informative. I was hooked in the first five minutes and crying and laughing for Louis in the first hour. Absolutely wonderful- a life-changing read.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    He was perfect! Emotional when necessary but not overly so. He did a wonderful job.


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

    Absolutely! I did my best!!


    Any additional comments?

    Everyone should read this; everything from the statistics to the actual story were things that no one on earth should go without hearing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Garland, TX, United States 03-21-12
    Jennifer Garland, TX, United States 03-21-12
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    "I now have dreams about events in this book"

    This book is very descriptive, heart wrenching and good. I enjoyed it and have now started having dreams of what it must have been like for these men.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Margie MEDFORD, OR, United States 03-19-12
    Margie MEDFORD, OR, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Must read!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    What I learned from his experience.


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    The Hiding Place


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

    Just his experience after he got home. It seemed like he hit rock bottom then and understood God's plan for him and walked away from all the hate. You think you don't make a difference to anyone.


    Any additional comments?

    I have a hard time picking these kinds of stories because it really hurts to know the terrible things that people had to go through, but I know there is something for me to learn and appreciate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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