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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

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Story

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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  • Story

Exceptionally heartbreaking, yet, inspiring

Listening to this story has left me with interesting impressions of human nature. I studied Human Development as an undergrad and that along with a religious lifestyle provided me with various insights while listening. in fact, I didn't want to stop listening and relished the traffic that accompanied my drives in the late afternoons. This is an amazing telling of cruelty, resilience, determination, dignity, forgiveness, brotherly love, and other facets of the human experience. I feel enraptured and edified by this story accompanied by a desire to be kinder and do more for others. Only the best of stories have such an effect.

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This is an outstanding true story that was masterfully written!

.I was working on a very mundane project that allowed me to listen to audiobooks while I worked. I found that I was hurrying to get there to learn what happened next.

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Inspiring

What a wonderful story! I was apprehensive about the content at first, but I'm glad I gave it a chance. The story was told in such a captivating manner. Highly recommend to others!

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Captivating and uplifting life

This is a beautifully written and read account of how one person finds strength in the midst of unfathomable despair and disappointment but tastes triumph through what he desires least, forgiveness. The narration is honest, giving a realistic view into Louie's life and experiences and to the people joined in his perils.

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Liked it very much

The detail given and you think you were right there.
Heart braking and painful to hear what during the war with Japan .

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  • CFNF
  • WA USA
  • 10-08-15

Riveting

Simply amazing. The narrator was perfect. Easy to listen to, and held my attention. As did the incredible writing. I could not stop listening. Highly recommend if you have not read Unbroken yet, you need to. One of the best books I've ever read.

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Incredible eye opener.

Loved it. I could write so much about this book but I'm at work. I couldn't help but to feel proud, happy, sad, worried, and at times cry.

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Very enlightening

I absolutely loved the story and it opened my eyes to the past. It is my 2nd fastest audible that I listened to.

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Great book

Although I really enjoy this genre I was a bit skeptical but greatly enjoyed this book. It was very well written though I wasn't able to keep all of the names straight. Very powerful. I also appreciate the author not shying away from the faith of the main character despite it not being politically correct in today's world. Excellent story and reading.

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Absolutely incredible. This is a MUST READ.

Where does Unbroken rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I wish I could use osmosis to have every person on earth read this incredible true story of perseverance, bravery, and endless determination. I believe it would change the way our generation pities itself, its circumstances, and challenges. These were MEN. Brave, bold, resilient, and self-sacrificing men. We should all be so grateful to men like Louis Zamperini, and so grateful to Laura Hillenbrand for telling his story so well. She clearly poured her heart into this - and it shows. I can't praise this book enough.