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Unbroken Audiobook

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

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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 (33584 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Frank Norfolk, VA, United States 11-29-10
    Frank Norfolk, VA, United States 11-29-10 Member Since 2006
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    "one of the best"

    One of the best I have listened to. Not only did I enjoy the book but learned much history that would have never heard. A great listen

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert SOUTH PASADENA, CA, United States 11-27-10
    Robert SOUTH PASADENA, CA, United States 11-27-10 Member Since 2006
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    "STRANGER THAN FICTION"

    An amazing life story. Told in a way that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Loved it! 5 stars all the way!

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Gatineau, Quebec, Canada 11-27-10
    Nancy Gatineau, Quebec, Canada 11-27-10 Member Since 2014
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    "A tribute to the resiliency of thr human soul"

    His courage and forgivness that is a tribute to the greatness of the ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. If there were more people in the world like this there would be more hope for mankind to overcome the cycle of hatred that plagues the human species.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 04-11-14
    Douglas 04-11-14 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "Stellar!"

    Being a lover of horses, I was entranced by Hillenbrand's remarkably well-written "Seabiscuit," but, if it is possible, she creates an even more compelling drama with Unbroken, the story of another deep-hearted underdog who triumphs in the end. Highly recommended!

    17 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly-o Seattle 01-05-11
    Molly-o Seattle 01-05-11 Member Since 2007

    English major. Love to read

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    "So good"

    How can you not like this book? Laura Hillenbrand is a consummate story teller and this story is made even more compelling by her ability to create a story. She makes you love the main character and you are there with him throughout his ordeal. Not to be missed, truly.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John B. Zerkel Tempe, Az USA 12-19-10
    John B. Zerkel Tempe, Az USA 12-19-10 Member Since 2013

    stratmanz

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    "The Best"

    Between the story, the detail and the narration, this is one of the most interesting books Ive listened to....I began wondering is this a fictional novel or is it Non Fiction because it is so well written that it takes you into the characters and the story. Simply Brilliant!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 12-14-10
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 12-14-10 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

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    "This is a winner"

    This author has a unique way of making events come to life. I had to keep reminding myself that it was non-fiction. Wonderfully written and narrated, my only complaint is that it wasn't longer. Great book.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 02-16-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 02-16-13 Member Since 2012

    Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."

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    "Astounding dignity, exquisite listen"

    When we read text, we don't read every word - our mind tells us what is there; we get the gist of a paragraph; and we move on. When we are read to, it takes longer - but we hear every word.

    Laura Hillenbrand's writing is an exquisite orchid to Jane Austin's massive flowering rose bush. Both write beautifully and are and will long be remembered, but every word and sentence in Hilebrand's book is carefully trained and pruned to support an astonishing story. With Austin's work, a rose or three could be removed without notice.

    That's not to say Louis Zamperini's story is austere or lacks details. Hillenbrand evokes Pre-WWII Southern California so clearly that 70 years later, you expect to see Zamperini on one of his long runs.

    The description of his survival after an ocean crash is so detailed you feel Zamperini's despair as he realizes just how useless some of the survival gear stowed in the raft was.

    Most of all, this is a story about the loss of dignity at the hands of captors, and the redemption of dignity. Hillenbrand shows that dignity should be first on Maslow's heirarchy, because without dignity, is anyone truly alive?

    Rewind if you miss something thinking about the exit you need to take, because some of the most crucial details and changes in circumstances are in a few spare phrases . Don't miss a word of this book.

    [If you find this review helpful, please click the "helpful" button. Thans!]

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tricia - Audible NJ, United States 04-11-12
    Tricia - Audible NJ, United States 04-11-12 Member Since 2010

    Constantly in search of the perfect listen.

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    "We should all know the name, Louis Zamperini"

    I hated the first part of this book, and really wanted to like it. It is a true story of an actual hero but the re-telling of events was very monotonous to start off with. Detailed accounts of what a plane looked like, of particular battles and so on, were all very boring.

    Luckily, once I got into Part 2 something changed. I was more drawn into the story. The account of Louis Zamperini’s time as a Prisoner of War in a Japanese prison camp is riveting. I was blown away by what he and the other prisoners suffered through and in Zamperini’s case survived. It’s amazing what the human body and spirit can overcome. I was also utterly disgusted by the cruelties some humans seem to be capable of. Overall, this is a book well worth listening to, if only out of respect for a man who is undeniably an American hero.

    When I listened to the sample audio, I loved the sound of the narrator’s voice. When I started getting into the actual audiobook, however, the narration began to feel quite bland. It put me to sleep at times. His voice was very nice, and it might be that there is a lot of detail being explained during much of the book. So, while I ended up not loving the narration, I cannot place the full blame on the narrator himself.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 04-04-11
    Sher from Provo Utah 04-04-11 Member Since 2015

    Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.

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    "Heartbreaking and Satisfying"

    This was going to be four stars right up until the last chapter, and then I realized it has changed my life. It is a fabulous survivor story. In fact, if it weren't a true story, you would swear the author was making it so unbelievable that you would have given up a long time ago asking yourself what she thought she was doing, or who she was trying to kid. Things just go from bad to worse to incomprehensibly worse. That anyone lived to tell this story is nothing short of miraculous, but that is not the only miracle in this story. It is truly a tribute to how much the human mind and body can endure, and how much easier life is when we depend on a higher power, that is to say, God, to help us through the horrible times. We all go through tough times, but I hope and pray I never have to go through anything close to what these men went through.

    Edward Herrmann is a very good narrator. He really made this story come alive.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
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  • Iain
    11/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stunning spirit"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    No, but I would be interested in listening to his own account


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Too many to mention without giving it away


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    Well paced, well read throughout


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Survival with courage and dignity


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to this story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Renata Rissi Silva
    3/21/15
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    "It's a definitely must-read book"
    What did you like most about Unbroken?

    An extremely interesting, involving and touching story. No doubt, one of the best I’ve heard!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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