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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
  • 5 Stars
    28,968
  • 4 Stars
    5,680
  • 3 Stars
    1,171
  • 2 Stars
    284
  • 1 Stars
    214

Performance

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    23,463
  • 4 Stars
    4,847
  • 3 Stars
    857
  • 2 Stars
    137
  • 1 Stars
    91

Story

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    24,773
  • 4 Stars
    3,593
  • 3 Stars
    797
  • 2 Stars
    191
  • 1 Stars
    118
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 12-14-10

This is a winner

This author has a unique way of making events come to life. I had to keep reminding myself that it was non-fiction. Wonderfully written and narrated, my only complaint is that it wasn't longer. Great book.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Heartbreaking and Satisfying

This was going to be four stars right up until the last chapter, and then I realized it has changed my life. It is a fabulous survivor story. In fact, if it weren't a true story, you would swear the author was making it so unbelievable that you would have given up a long time ago asking yourself what she thought she was doing, or who she was trying to kid. Things just go from bad to worse to incomprehensibly worse. That anyone lived to tell this story is nothing short of miraculous, but that is not the only miracle in this story. It is truly a tribute to how much the human mind and body can endure, and how much easier life is when we depend on a higher power, that is to say, God, to help us through the horrible times. We all go through tough times, but I hope and pray I never have to go through anything close to what these men went through.

Edward Herrmann is a very good narrator. He really made this story come alive.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

This man is what we all should strive to become!!

An amazing listen!! Zamperini's life was unbelieveable. His inner strength and courage and ability to affect others was infectious. I would love to meet this man and shake his hand and say thank you for carring a life long burden of memories of what he suffered in war to fight for our country. THIS BOOK, THIS MAN and THIS LIFE he led is like no other!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Astounding

Unbroken is among the best media experiences of my life. The story is simply awe inspiring, the writing superb and the narration excellent. I have learned a great deal about life in the many hours I have spent thinking and talking about this audiobook.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Trenton
  • Texas, Alaska United States
  • 08-29-11

A difficult listen, but engrossing

This book is about 80% intense unavoidable suffering/humiliation of the protagonist and 20% of the protagonist overcoming his hardships. It did keep me entertained on a 14 hour drive and it is thought provoking as far as "why do some human beings derive pleasure in the helpless torture of others".
The most frustrating part of this book for me was that it is just some narrator telling about what is happening, very little of the book is composed of the protagonist's actual words about what happened/what was happening. I would have preferred to hear how he dealt with everything in his own words, like in the book "Papillon", because that way, you also learn about how people overcome adversity rather than just never ending narrative about them being abused mentally and physically.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Unbroken

A very good book and you will not be able to stop reading it. I highly recommend it and know you will find it worth your time and money.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Elisabeth
  • Durham, NC, United States
  • 07-31-11

Riveting!

What can I say but riveting! This is not a genre I normally am drawn to, but Hillenbrand's masterful research and story telling created an audiobook that I could not turn off.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Kept me awake all night.

This is a compelling story written with authenticity and candor. It was almost impossible to imagine that this story was real yet it was. I would read this as fiction but as a biography it is totally amazing. This is a must read!!! You will be amazed and inspired.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Edward Herrman read this book with passion

The story is really breathtaking. The reader pays it justice. Mr. Herrman obviously prepared himself well for this book. The immeasurable pleasure of a great book and a great rendering is rare to come by. Thank you for your service, Mr. Zamparini; thank you for your care in telling the story, Ms Hillenbrand; and thank you for your art, Mr. Herrman.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • San Dimas, CA, United States
  • 05-28-11

Wow! This is a 10 star book!

Reading this book made me proud to be an American, and gave me a greater appreciation for the men and women who serve our country. I could not wait to be in my car so I could hear the story, even knowing how it ends. It is a remarkable true story, and is one of the books I will keep on my ipod to hear again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful