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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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  •  
    David corpus christi, TX, United States 07-12-14
    David corpus christi, TX, United States 07-12-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cried like a baby"

    I don't cry over books or movies or even old Hallmark commercials. If this book doesn't blow your mind, then this is the Zombie apocalypse and your patient zero.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 02-16-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 02-16-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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!]

    14 of 16 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.

    4 of 4 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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol 12-08-10
    Carol 12-08-10 Member Since 2001
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    "Amazing Man, Amazing Story"

    Once I started this book, every free moment was spent listening. I was so anxious to see what Louie was going to encounter next! The words just flew off the page (so to speak), and Louie Zamperini is, to this day, an amazing man with an amazing story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Experienced Recruiter 12-08-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book"

    A great, stirring story. Well worth the download. Well written and narrated. Will keep you fully engaged.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Allison Guiliotis 12-06-10
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    "Great Story"

    I read an excerpt of this in last month's Vanity Fair magazine. My husband and I couldn't put the article down. So we decided to get the audio version because we are short on time. I put it on my ipod and tooled around the house. I meant to listen to it in a few weeks but wound up listening for 5-6 hours at a time and finished the book in 4 days because I was so captivated by the story and just had to hear what was next. Hillenbrand's story is very easy to get lost in.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kfcarter Graham, WA 12-05-10
    Kfcarter Graham, WA 12-05-10 Member Since 2002

    kfcarter

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    "Amazing story"

    I don't usually read nonfiction books. I am so glad that I read this one. What an amazing story of human strength and endurance. I had no idea that the Japanese were so cruel to POWs. I think everybody should read this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Colleen Kelly 12-03-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Great writing!"

    I bought this book for my husband to listen to. It is very hard to find him books that he absolutely loves. He could not put this one down! He rated it as one of of the best books he ever read! The plot was filled with mystery and emotion. It was truly great writing. A must read!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Davis San Jose, CA USA 12-01-10
    Greg Davis San Jose, CA USA 12-01-10 Member Since 2008

    Greg in San Jose

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    "One of the best I've heard"

    In every detail Unbroken was one of the best Audio books I've listened to. The story itself is something that quickly takes hold of you and you end up driving or walking around much longer than intended unable to turn off your iPod, wanting to hear what happens next. Laura Hillenbrand is an incredible writer, one of the best. Furthermore, Edward Herrmann reads with such perfect and appropriate cadence and emotion at each point, I can't immagine a better reader for this book. A five star rating is not hyberbole - this book is the real deal, it earns every star.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • 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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