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)
You just can't make this story up. Louis is a complex guy. But how he managed to survive is beyond amazing. It's a story of resilience without making him out to be a hero. Just a human being like the rest of us who managed to come through. And you just have to wonder at the darkness of humanity that let such horrors happen. That he then found the grace to forgive is even more amazing. Edward Hermann's narration does it all justice.
So well written that you actually feel like you're there.
Would have to be the main character
Narration was excellent.
Not really any reaction but certainly kept my attention.
I needed to drive for 8 hours from Woodbridge, VA to Asheville, NC. recently. I listened to the first half of the book on the way down and actually finished the book as I was pulling into the parking lot at home on the return trip. Really made the trip a pleasure! I already have another book downloaded for my next trip!
It's an incredible, true story so well-written I almost felt like I was there. I could see the characters and environments vividly as the story unfolded. I loved the book and sent it to my father who was a WWII vet who flew in the South Pacific during the war.
Louis, of course. He was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things and the author was able to show him in a very full and layered fashion.
That's very hard to say - there were so many different times and places.
Yes, when Louis was able to forgive and went back to Japan to face his captors.
This book was a truly amazing story giving a historical perspective of WWII as well.
The story, the characters, the reader. All were absolutely incredible.
The stunning turnaround in Louis Z's life at the end.
No, but now I want to.
This is truly an incredible story about what our POWs in the Pacific theater of WWII endured. I've been Air Force officer for 18 years and am a pretty good student of military history, but must say I am a little ashamed to not have known a lot about this part of WWII. If anyone feels their life is tough, just read/listen to this story and you will gain a completely new perspective, and a deeper appreciation for being an American.
The story of Louis Zamporini is like none other... you will never regret buying this book. even for full price. The reader I think is the guy who does the history channel. His voice is amazing and it will hook you to audiobooks for a lifetime.
the Sharks, oh the sharks. thats the point where you wont ever go back
Laugh... many times. and feel a lot of other things too.
wonderfully done edward and laura. your work has made me have a few great days... thats all it took to get through that book.
This audio edition has been my favorite so far.
The story is an outstanding one of courage and bravery that is unmatched in any other accounts that I have read.
Mr. Herrmann's narration was superb. His voice was strong like the character and easy to listen to.
The entire story was gripping. I have no particular favorite chapters, they all were outstanding.
What a story of survival! I hope to find additional selections narrated by Mr. Herrmann.
This is one of the most poweful books I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.
When Louie receives the Lord and finds release from his demons.
As I ponder this book at it's end, I am so amazed by the atrocities suffered by these men, yet they survived and went on to live productive lives. I am moved beyond words. This is the first review I have written. I just had to share my thoughts. Please listen to this book. You will be touched in ways I cannot describe.
While I'm sure I would have loved reading Unbroken as well as listening to it I would have to say in this case the audio version wins out. Edward Herrmann had such a smooth and calming quality to his voice as well as a historical and intelligent edge. I would listen to anything he read.
I'm not sure if I could compare a book to Unbroken because I feel as though there has not been a book I've read quite like it. I love the combination of the historical information as well as the human element as we follow Louis' journey from a small boy to a grown man in a POW camp. I would have to say that the closest match that I've come across would be "The Devil In The White City" by Erik Larson. Although, while being similar in historical facts and great storytelling I feel that Larson's book lacked the human emotion quality that Unbroken had. Louis' story definitely stole my heart and will stay on my mind for years to come.
I loved the fact that his performance made me feel calm and relaxed. It was as if I was 10 years old again and I was listening to my grandfather regale me with tales of his youth. I literally wanted to curl up under the covers and just listen to him paint a picture of this incredible man's journey.
Definitely! Although time and my busy schedule did not permit me so. The beginning was good but a bit slow to start as the author had to familiarize the listener/reader with the protagonist's beginnings so that we could see why he had made the choices he did in his later life. I feel that because of the back story I knew Louis' almost as well as I knew a friend or neighbor and that made the story so much more real and charming. Once the story got to around the middle where the height of the suspense was I did feel like I did not want to put the book down (or in my case my headphones down!)
I'm so glad that I came across Unbroken on Audible and I'm glad that I decided to give it a listen. The story will forever be in my heart and it is definitely one I am recommending to all my friends and family.
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