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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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Performance

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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Courageous

Would you listen to Unbroken again? Why?

Yes. It is uplifting, inspiring and narrated by the late great Edward Herrman.

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

Louie.

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

Both. But it was Louie's ability to forgive that moved me the most.

Any additional comments?

There are so many reasons to recommend this book - how Louie Zamparini became an Olympic athlete, a rare account of the fighting in the Pacific theater during WWII, how the Pacific theater veterans fared after the war. I wondered if I could have survived as a POW and and what anger I would have afterwards. It's this final point that makes this book worth reading. Zamparini was consumed by anger but realized it was only hurting him and those around around him. He forgave his captors, and the anger went away. Remarkable book that stays with you for days.

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Excellent!

My family listened to this during a long road trip. We were riveted by it, even the non- history buff daughters. It was really an excellent book! I couldn't recommend it enough.

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awesome

awesome and entertaining great story full of detail and the message of Jesus and how never to give up !

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Long and Slow at times

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, the story itself is a truly amazing story of perseverance and survival but the book can be slow at times. There are a lot of character names and details about warplanes that I found boring and hard to keep straight. But there were also some truly jaw dropping moments in the story line. They could have edited out certain things and still kept the story intact.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was predictable (but only because I already knew the true stories of the real people).

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, it was slow and I sometimes found myself not paying attention.

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Incredible

Excellent story, and excellent performance! Don't start it before you have free time, otherwise you may risk having to cancel a few appointments. :)

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Fantastic book. very well done.

Story came alive. Reading was well done. I would highly recommended it for anyone. Long live Louie in our memories.

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Great story and Lou's life was amazing.

For any person to overcome the struggles that Louie and his fellow soldiers had to endure is incredible.

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Great story. Great narrator.

Loved this book a great story about forgiveness and strength of not just one man but many men who went through such great trials during WWII. a must read.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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One of the best audiobooks yet

So well written it was like a movie in my mind. I could visualize the entire book. This has not happened before for me.

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Wow!

amazing story. perhaps a little long...but who can diminish a moment of that terrible truth.