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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

4.6 (12511 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Deborah New Market, VA, United States 09-02-12
    Deborah New Market, VA, United States 09-02-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    91
    6
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    Story
    "Excellent!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I do, I have, I will! Just an interesting, compelling story told with an authentic voice.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    the strength of the human spirit.....Where does it come from? The ability to survive the hopeless circumstance again and again.


    Any additional comments?

    I've wondered, since listening, why there is so much strength available to survive the direst of events, but - afterwards - self-destructive despair can defeat the survivor? It seems such a paradox, but happens again and again with today's veterans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 09-01-12
    Nancy 09-01-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    82
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    "Absolutely Wonderful Book!!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! This book made me laugh and cry. I never thought I would enjoy a book about a war but I was wrong. I really liked this book because it kept me engaged the whole time. I found myself wanting to listen all the time. I have heard "stories" about POWs and their time in POW camps. This account was horrific but opened my eyes to another culture. Worth the listen!


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    I have no comparison.


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

    Not that I'm aware of.


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

    Yes. Something near & dear to my heart happened near the end of the book. I especially enjoyed hearing his struggle and victory.


    Any additional comments?

    This book made me laugh and cry. At times I listened in horror & disbelief. To think that someone, anyone could survive such an ordeal amazes me. One more example of God's awesome power!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dotty CLOVIS, CA, United States 08-29-12
    Dotty CLOVIS, CA, United States 08-29-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Wow, amazing"

    So dramatic. At times it's hard to listen to the severity of the abuse, but it is worth it. It's history. The "resilience" and "redemption" part are so true. An amazing life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marge United States 08-28-12
    Marge United States 08-28-12
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    "Unbeliveable struggle & horrow of war"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    To recount the events of the war.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Survival


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His recovery after listening to Billy GrahamSt


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

    Strength will be your Survivial


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Rochester Hills, MI, United States 08-28-12
    Michelle Rochester Hills, MI, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great book!"
    Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

    Really enjoyed this performance. Loved the story - had me from the first chapter and continued throughout.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl YUBA CITY, CA, United States 08-27-12
    Cheryl YUBA CITY, CA, United States 08-27-12
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    "Fantastic story."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, very compelling story, well written.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    Lost at sea.


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

    Read as a documentary. Very factual and unemotional which left the reader to reach his own conclusions.


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

    Yes!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy W. Demille Fallbrook, CA 08-27-12
    Roy W. Demille Fallbrook, CA 08-27-12

    Topkick

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    1
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    "Outstanding in every way"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! It is a stirring, true story that is told so well that the listener can visualize every word!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David L. Jones 08-27-12
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "Great Book"
    Where does Unbroken rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very near the top.


    What other book might you compare Unbroken to and why?

    Right up there with the very best.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narration could have been better.


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

    Just could not put it down.


    Any additional comments?

    None

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle WARNER ROBINS, GA, United States 08-26-12
    Danielle WARNER ROBINS, GA, United States 08-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "One of the best books ever!"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    I have already suggested this book to many friends and family. A real learning experience, well done, easy to listen to, and kept pulling me to it each time I had to do other things!


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    I compare this book favorably to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Unbroken is a lot shorter, of course, but no less informative of this era in world history. Unbroken is destined to be a classic.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    He was easy to listen to, his delivery made sense, and was consistently good in every way, including consistent in his enunciation (proper) of names, certain "terms," etc. I compare this to The Rise and Fall in that the narrator mispronounced "coup de GRAS," for example, and pronounced some of Hitler's cronies' names, sometimes pronouncing them correctly, sometimes not, etc. Not saying that it is not a classic, but you cannot help notice when someone puts the "s" on the end of "GRAS." Back to Unbroken . . . Loved it. Plan another listen in the near future to pick up some of the details I may have missed first time around.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Not a thing.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    Plan to listen to this more than once. Well worth it. Descriptive enough to replace the need to see this on t.v.!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle W 08-24-12
    Elle W 08-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inspiring and Riveting"
    Any additional comments?

    Laura Hillenbrand knows how to deliver this true story in a way that gives details without overwhelming the listener with too much at once. The narrator does a good job pacing the reading to match the story, pausing only where is needed to let us absorb what we heard but otherwise quick enough that it always remains interesting ( too many other narrators pause too long after every phrase, drawing out mundane descriptions and making them boring to hear). The story itself is uplifting and moving.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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