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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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  •  
    Chris 03-10-14
    Chris 03-10-14 Member Since 2014

    If you see a BMW motorcycle cruising down the road, you can be assured I'm listening to a book from Audible!

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    "Moving"

    An incredible story about one man's WWII POW experience. What's even more incredible is that there are literally thousands of similar stories, which will never be told. This generation will take with them to the grave the horrors they say, the funny experiences they had, and the tears they shed. Bravo to Hillenbrand for taking the time to show us what these men went through, lived with and died for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope T Cruz D D S 03-09-14
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    "Absolutely exemplarily narrated and well written!"

    Stories of this nature can leave you feeling drained; however, amazingly I left with a wonderful peace. The narrator was perfect; he had the awesome ability to imbue feelings of pain yet his narration never felt forced. Beautiful historical novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanne ANN ARBOR, MI, United States 03-09-14
    Joanne ANN ARBOR, MI, United States 03-09-14 Member Since 2014

    Tell us about yourself! I enjoy diffrent authors. Some of my favs are the Ken Follett series, some suspense and mystery .

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    "One of the best books I've ever read"
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    It was beyond comprehension what the POW's had to endure and their everyday spirit that could not be broken


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Louie of course. He was so likable and strong willed


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

    Yes I listened to the Goldfinch which was another favorite!


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

    Oh gosh too many to pick


    Any additional comments?

    Even if you do not like history , this book is amazingly well written, exciting and you just can't wait to hear more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy R Clemons Denver, Colorado 03-09-14
    Amy R Clemons Denver, Colorado 03-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Far better than I'd expected"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Entertaining educational experience!


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    Haven't read any others similar. Not my normal genre.


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

    No. No comparison to offer.


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

    I was deeply moved by the part where the three men were in the raft...their experiences...their support of each other....and their honesty in a time of deep despair. I felt tears at times.


    Any additional comments?

    It was an absolutely sensational book that captured history in an informative, narrative style without too much dialogue, but with a lot of personality. The protagonist was heroic, but realistically so, and I felt as if I knew him. The author is excellent - I'll look for more of her books, and the performance was fantastic; I'll look for more books read by him. This was definitely outside of my normal realm of selections, but I'll be back for more. It was a gripping tale, and I learned a lot about that time in history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria St. Petersburg, FL, United States 02-28-14
    Victoria St. Petersburg, FL, United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Very riviting book"
    Where does Unbroken rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Unbelievably strong human sprit story of survival. This kind of story should not be forgotten. The cruelty of humans to one another as well as the evils of war time and the ability of people to survive. Well written and held your attention.


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

    Well done.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Albuquerque, NM, United States 02-23-14
    James Albuquerque, NM, United States 02-23-14
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    "Unbroken brings multiple surprises to the reader"

    I highly recommend this book for many different reasons. The most significant however is the way multiple stories are told throughout the listener's journey along with Louis. Each story is compelling in its own right; the fact that each one occurred to one person - Louis Zamperini, is amazing. At the beginning I couldn't imagine how the book summary would keep me interested for the entire time, by the end I didn't want it to end. It's rare that I would feel that way, and I hope that whomever else listens to this book feels the same way too.

    I won't repeat the story here. I won't provide any spoilers. I will say....

    You will absolutely want this book in your library for many, many reasons. Get it and find out why.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Compute 02-19-14
    Compute 02-19-14 Member Since 2014
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    "One of the best books I've ever read!"

    One of the best books I have ever read and that’s saying a lot! I loved the story of Louie Zamperini and the many things he faced in his life. He was a MAN who was able to face life’s adversities and managed to come out on top. The reader feels Louie Zamperini’s lows such as when he is held prisoner during the war and causes us to cheer his highs, his Olympic days. This is one of those books where you will laugh, cry and when the book is over hate that it’s come to an end. Laura Hillenbrand is a top author who knows how to catch the attention of a variety of readers … from young to old … and enable each of us to love and want more of her books!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leonard Wolfson Miami Beach, FL United States 02-18-14
    Leonard Wolfson Miami Beach, FL United States 02-18-14
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    "As good or better than Seabiscuit"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Riveting story as told by LH. reader was excellent. No need to act this one out.LH


    What did you like best about this story?

    LH has shown the unique ability to explore every facet of a story and elicit every emotion in the spectrum.


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

    Just an excellent reading job.


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

    No, but it made me think!


    Any additional comments?

    If you liked Seabiscuit, this book will not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shauna 02-17-14
    Shauna 02-17-14 Member Since 2013
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    "God bless America and our people who serve."
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Fantastic, thrilling and emotional.


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    None in it's league.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Christian conversion and forgivness.


    Any additional comments?

    Best book i've read in a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 02-16-14
    James BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 02-16-14
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    "Outstanding!!!"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Hard to believe...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Louis Zamperini... It was his life to which the story was about.


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

    Louis Zamperini


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

    This book will bring out all your emotions. It will make you laugh and cry, it will make you sad, it will make you mad, but after reading it, it will make you a better person.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best book I have ever read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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