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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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    28,711
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  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

this book

Me
Great book loved it nice and short book nice quick and easy read go

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Unbroken-----An amazing story.

This was an amazing book. Purely a joy to read. This story is probably one of my all-time favorite books ever.

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An Incredible Story!

An amazing story of the human spirit! Inspirational inspirational inspirational! Loved every minute of it, never a dull moment. If you like this, I recommend reading Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

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Excellent Book So Happy I Listened

My father was a POW in Germany so this book really hit home for me. These men could only have lived through this by the grace of God.

Thank you so much for writing and recording this documentary of their story.

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My paradigm has been shifted

If you want to have the opportunity to view the world in a different light, listen to this book.

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WOW

An eye opening tale of what WWII was really like. Louis is a true war hero. I'm glad I got to hear his story.

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It wouldn't download.

I purchased with a credit and it wouldn't download. I returned it and tried a second time purchase and download. No luck. I'm really disappointed. I was looking forward to listening to this book.

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Awesome Book!

I saw the movie first and was amazed how much of his story was not covered after listening to the book.

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WOW! Amazed and awed

What did you love best about Unbroken?

The reader's voice was perfect for this story. I found myself searching and hearing his voice through my day to day. Each chapter left me wanting to eagerly listen on.

What did you like best about this story?

I consider myself a very forgiving person but I felt uneasy about Louie's forgiveness toward the Bird. I understood the forgiveness of the other Japanese men who faced him albeit in a prison setting. I am still frustrated by the Bird's apparent indifference to what he had done. You can interpret many things about him not facing Louis face to face in the end but he should be ashamed. His actions were beyond what the war taught him. It is these mix of emotions that made listening so invigorating. The readers depicting the time at sea on the raft was great. I wanted them to get picked up but I knew (based on the novel descriotion) what lay ahead so I was torn.

Which scene was your favorite?

The description of the raid on the Wake Island. I know very little of WWII and to hear about the beginning of the retaliation for Pearl Harbor even though this was not the first made me feel good.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I was not able to.

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Great life story.

Great life story. I haven't seen the movie so the book seems great. The way Laura describes every step in Lois Zamperini journey make you share and admire his endurance, determination and resilence to fight war in a thousand different ways.