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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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    28,709
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    5,644
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    1,165
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Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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Awe-inspiring

unbelievable and gripping story. couldn't stop listening. a must read or listen for anyone. great performance to listen to

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Absolutely Fantastic!

I wasn't able to stop listening! An incredible story and great narration combine to make this a superb treat. Do yourself a favor and listen!

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Gripping

What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

The reading experience was very intimate and personal. It felt like Louie was a neighbor. Great story line and character development.

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Inspiring

Unbelievable story of courage, strength, and resilience. Exemplifies the highs and lows of mankind in a single story. Absolutely loved it.

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  • Story

A bit of luck, a lot of determination

What made the experience of listening to Unbroken the most enjoyable?

For a morbid reason the fact that any hardship is followed by other hardship. Just when I thought it could not get any worse it did. So the moment he was out of danger I felt such relief. In the problems after the war he faced less gruesome challenges, but those he also had to overcome.

What did you like best about this story?

The determination of the people in the story. Giving up is so hard, but not doing so even harder.

What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

His voice, the way he "acts" the different characters.

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

Giving up is no option.

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A wonderful story reminding me of my childhood.

I was 8 yrs of age in 1941. I recall seeing Movie tone news reels at the local Fox theater. And listening to radio with my grandfather who was Austrian. He hated Adolf Hitler and called him a "Madman!"

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Amazing made me want to go hug my Pappa ( vet)

Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

I plan on it. It had soo much in it. I would like to get the child's version and listen to that one too then re-listen to this one.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The main character of course. He went through a lot even though the story is not totally true it makes him be a human. He had his awful faults and yet he had his awesome good points too.

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wow!!! unbelievable story..

This book along with Kite runner, and thousand splendid suns reminds us the cruelty that one human can show towards another. This book gives you appreciation for what soldiers endure and the resiliency that a person can have. if I was in place of Loui, Watanabe surely would have died. Monsters and Devils don't deserve forgiveness even from God let alone mere humans. Thank you for bringing this story to us Laura.

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Amazing

What an amazing story and so beautifully told. The perfect mix of fact and fiction to pull the reader in. Unfortunate, this part of our history is forgotten in the shadow of the European theatre during WWII. Zamparini and POWs like him are the silent heroes and true patriots of the war.

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  • Yetch
  • Denver, CO USA
  • 01-20-16

Powerful Story

A fantastic story of the tremendous highs and lows of humanity and personal strength. This was the perfect book for audio delivery.