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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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    29,251
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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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  • Performance
  • Story

This book enlightened me on what war is like.

This book kept my attention. It was amazing to see what individuals can endure. It was also I interesting to see what wicked men are capable of. I loved seeing the way forgiveness changed Lewy's life for the better. Forgiveness is more for the person forgiving than for the person who needs forgiveness. Great book!

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A wonderful read

A wonderful story. I highly recommend reading this incredible story of courage, struggle, human dignity, war, and forgiveness through Christ.

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Great book

Awesome narration and an amazing story of survival... So much more detail and facts than the movie!

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  • Alka
  • Auckland New Zealand
  • 10-16-15

Overwhelming...inspiring...heartfelt writing

You are connected with Zamperini from the start all the way to the finish
Recommended highly
Informative perspective on the pacific pow experience

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love this book

I have a hard to putting it down. it's an inspiring story. it is truly upsetting that so many ppl lost their lives . may they rest in peace.

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Fabulous read

It's like 3 books in one and the storytelling is fabulous. Hillenbrand makes you feel like you're in the war with Louis! A must read for all.

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Long but glad I listened

I nearly didn't buy this book and there were times I wished I hadn't. Hillenbrand has a tendency of staying too long on a set of descriptors. Her characters tend to extremes - fastest, stupidest, kindest, most dysfunctional people alive with few having any balance of characteristics. Likewise, the segments of the this book became repetitious.
But overall I am glad I read the book. It helped me understand a part of WWII that was not in my thought pattern and helped me understand reactions by elderly American men who had served in that theatre. The story offered plenty of conflict, lots of excitement and possibility. I really didn't feel sure how the story would end. The ending was satisfying.

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Excellent listen

Certainly makes me appreciate my freedom and all that was sacrificed for it. Also provided a good history lesson.

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Incredible story and well written

What an incredible story and a well written one at that. The will to live and power to forgive are exemplified in this remarkable account.

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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.