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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

4.7 (16998 )
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  •  
    Anne L Harrigan 04-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Beautiful"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    Unbelievable Heartbreaking Beautiful


    What did you like best about this story?

    I thought it was an amazing story all around. Some of it seemed like it might have been slightly "enhanced" but it didn't take away from the fact that these men endured unbelievable odds in service to their country.


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

    I did cry, several times. This is a book that gives you a glimmer of what these men felt; their struggles, and their triumphs.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N8rdoc Canada 03-29-14
    N8rdoc Canada 03-29-14
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    REVIEWS
    5
    5
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    Story
    "Best Audiobook Ever"

    The perfect combination of an amazing, inspiring true-life story of Louis Zamperini, wonderful writing by Laura Hillenbrand that keeps you involved at all times, and perfect narration with warmth and gravitas by Edward Hermann. The best audiobook I've ever listened to; my new gold standard!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori O'Lin Houston, Texas United States 03-28-14
    Lori O'Lin Houston, Texas United States 03-28-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Amazing Story!"
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I was hooked from the very beginning of this book. Amazing story! Highly recommend.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Fayetteville, AR, United States 03-28-14
    Jeff Fayetteville, AR, United States 03-28-14 Member Since 2011

    Jeff

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    "Excellent!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unbroken to be better than the print version?

    Great writing! Great narration! Difficult to push pause. If you like this you will also like The Boys in the Boat


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carol United States 03-27-14
    carol United States 03-27-14 Member Since 2013
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    "No words to describe how good this book is."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It was the kind of book that puts life in to perspective.


    What did you like best about this story?

    A moving account of an incredible mans life


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

    No.


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

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael K. Dees Lake Charles, LA United States 03-26-14
    Michael K. Dees Lake Charles, LA United States 03-26-14 Member Since 2013
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    2
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    "The real life story of the power of forgiveness!"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    I have started my second listen of this wonderful story. I consider myself a history buff of WWII but somehow I never knew this deeply moving story. What a life lesson of the power of Christ and forgiveness and human love.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The overwhelming power of human survival in the depths of despair ending with the triumph of love and forgiveness as the strongest weapon against those that do us harm.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The 40 plus days lost at sea


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia United States 03-25-14
    Patricia United States 03-25-14 Member Since 2012
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    2
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    "Awesome Listen!"

    Great story. I looked at ordering this one for a couple of months....kept passing it up as I did not know if I would like it. SO glad I ordered this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaylee 03-23-14
    Kaylee 03-23-14
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    2
    1
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    "Incredible!!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unbroken to be better than the print version?

    NA


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Louis Zamperini


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

    Louis


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

    After starting it I couldn't put it down and yes I wanted to finish it in one sitting. However, I listened to it over several days.


    Any additional comments?

    This was the best audio book I have ever listened too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki New orleans, LA, United States 03-22-14
    Vicki New orleans, LA, United States 03-22-14 Member Since 2012
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    2
    2
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    "You can't turn this off. Riveting."
    What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

    This is an incredible story of survival. It makes you think about your own will to live during unbearable events.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narration is excellent and the story is so compelling. The character development is outstanding.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    He was easy to listen to.


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

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    A fabulous story that you can't get out of your head.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Townsend eastern NC 03-17-14
    R. Townsend eastern NC 03-17-14 Member Since 2012

    bunky1998

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    "If you need inspiration, listen to this book"

    If you're down, depressed and think your life is bad, listen to this book. What Louis Zamperini endured while lost at sea and in a Japanese POW camp during WWII is almost stranger than fiction. His struggles and demons following the war's end are not. Both show a man pushed to the breaking point, then finding freedom and a new mission for his life. You will laugh and cry listening to this, a triumph of the human spirit.

    Edward Herrmann (as usual) does an amazing job as narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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