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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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  •  
    Roland L. Redmond 12-17-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    16
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    Story
    "Unrelenting..."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Its length


    What could Laura Hillenbrand have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Hillenbrand is a good writer, but this book needed heavy editing. I lost patience with the seemingly endless details of the suffering endured by Louis and other American POWs. It was excessive and detracted from an otherwise great and inspiring story.


    Was Unbroken worth the listening time?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joshua thompson 12-16-14 Member Since 2014
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    "what an incredible story."

    Made me cry, several times.
    The characters and their personalities are close enough to touch.
    I now know life has much fewer hurdles than I thought.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tourman Northwest Arkansas 12-15-14
    Tourman Northwest Arkansas 12-15-14 Member Since 2013

    I'm a 4th generation native of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A beautiful, Victorian era village located in the midst of the Ozark Mountains. I love history and in fact I am a tour guide and somewhat of a local historian.

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    "Exhilarating! Touching!"

    I am so glad I purchased this book. It is the most amazing story I have ever read. I used to say that Fearless, the story of SEAL team member Adam Brown, was the best book I have ever listened to. Now, Unbroken has taken its place. Looking forward to seeing the movie, but hoping I'm not disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Moose 12-15-14
    Moose 12-15-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Couldn't turn it off"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unbroken to be better than the print version?

    I said yes, as there were moments that I would have not have felt if I would have read it myself.


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    I dont think that there is one.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Every moment where lost strength was found at the right time.


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

    the end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Courtney Ashland, Oregon 12-15-14
    Courtney Ashland, Oregon 12-15-14 Member Since 2010
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    "A story that stays with you"

    An absolutely amazing story. Not the escapist kind of reading I normally do, but reading this book improved my life and reminded me of God's miraculous grace.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenda Bolton, MA, United States 12-15-14
    Glenda Bolton, MA, United States 12-15-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Could not put this down!!"

    I hope the movie is as good as the audiobook. The action never stopped and I carried it with me everywhere just in case I had a chance to listen. The writer kept me on the edge of my seat and I could visualize the scenes!

    Louie was an amazing man. It would have been exciting to hear him tell the tale to the writer. It had to be very emotional knowing that it was a true story. It was the best book I have read this year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JChizzle 12-15-14
    JChizzle 12-15-14 Member Since 2014
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    2
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    Story
    "Could not put it down"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book has all the elements of an amazing and unbelievable story...and it's a true story....what???????


    What did you like best about this story?

    Louis Zamparini, the main character. I felt like I got to know him very well. His trials and tribulations were gut wrenching and brought you on a crazy rollercoaster of highs and lows.


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

    Louie Zamaparini


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

    This book took you through the whole gambit. Edge of your seat fear, suspense, crying, laughing. I found myself holding my breath in several places until the conflict was seemingly resolved.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Chamblee, GA, United States 12-14-14
    John Chamblee, GA, United States 12-14-14 Member Since 2009

    I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Story"

    This book has been out for a while and has received numerous accolades. They are all deserved. Louis Zamperini's story is unbelievable. If this were a work of fiction, it would be described as fantasy. Louis lived an amazing life. To survive what he did seems like a true miracle, and maybe it was.

    The book is incredibly well-written. Hillenbrand is just a great writer. Time and again, she will leave a little clue as to a later part of the story. Even though the story is long, it moves very well, always leaving the reader to want to read (or listen) just a little bit more.

    Herrmann is a fantastic narrator, and his performance here is worthy of Louis' story and Hillenbrand's writing.

    Just excellent all the way around.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Tennyson, TX, United States 12-14-14
    Sandra Tennyson, TX, United States 12-14-14 Member Since 2011

    Les & I have been married 50 years in Sept.! We have A large family! Love Audible~!

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    "Unbroken Outstanding story !!"

    This Story is remarkable. It shows what has happened in WW2. Makes me appreciate my Freedom even More! Every student should have to read this book!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Carlson 12-13-14 Member Since 2014
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    1
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    "Just finished - my thoughts"
    If you could sum up Unbroken in three words, what would they be?

    A tough read


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    The complete story of Louis from the very start to just a few years before his demise.


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

    his narration was so easy to listen to


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

    No - It was so disturbing to follow this harrowing saga at one reading


    Any additional comments?

    I had the opportunity to hear Louis on a cruise ship a few years ago and the thing I remembered most was that the bird got off scott free which really bothered me. After listing to the book my thoughts have changed after hearing the complete story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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