Unbroken

Unbroken

A World War II Airman's Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011 | Unabridged
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The incredible true story of survival and salvation that is the basis for two major motion pictures: 2014's Unbroken and the upcoming Unbroken: Path to Redemption .

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 hum∨ 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.

Praise for Unbroken

"Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic." -- The Wall Street Journal

"[A] one-in-a-billion story . . . designed to wrench from self-respecting critics all the blurby adjectives we normally try to avoid: It is amazing, unforgettable, gripping, harrowing, chilling, and inspiring." --New York

"Staggering . . . mesmerizing . . . Hillenbrand's writing is so ferociously cinematic, the events she describes so incredible, you don't dare take your eyes off the page." -- People

"A meticulous, soaring and beautifully written account of an extraordinary life." --The Washington Post

"Ambitious and powerful . . . a startling narrative and an inspirational book." --The New York Times Book Review

"Marvelous . . . Unbroken is wonderful twice over, for the tale it tells and for the way it's told. . . . It manages maximum velocity with no loss of subtlety." -- Newsweek

"Moving and, yes, inspirational . . . [Laura] Hillenbrand's unforgettable book . . . deserve[s] pride of place alongside the best works of literature that chart the complications and the hard-won triumphs of so-called ordinary Americans and their extraordinary time." --Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air

"Hillenbrand . . . tells [this] story with cool elegance but at a thrilling sprinter's pace." -- Time

" Unbroken is too much book to hope for: a hellride of a story in the grip of the one writer who can handle it." --Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run
Publisher: New York :, Books on Tape,, 2011, 2010
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781415962763
1415962766
Characteristics: 1 sound file (13 hr., 57 min.) : digital
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Opinion

From Library Staff

This account is about the unknown runners the Zamperini brothers, who are determined to win gold in the Berlin Olympics 1936. The younger brother Louis is the extremely fast but to young, and headstrong. Being inexperienced and undisciplined he doesn't pace himself and only when he sees the fini... Read More »


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l
LynJoan
Jan 09, 2020

I am a huge fan of this story. Educational, inspirational and entertaining; what more can you ask for?

I Listened to the audio CD; I couldn't recommend it more.

IndyPL_SteveB Dec 03, 2019

In 1936, 19-year-old Louis Zamperini of Torrance, California ran the 5,000-meter race in the Berlin Olympics. He finished 8th but was looking forward to the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo. Then World War II began and the Olympics were called off. Zamperini joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and was trained as a bombardier. In 1943, his plane crashed in the South Pacific and the three survivors began an amazing, terrifying journey that included surviving 46 days on a life raft, capture by the Japanese, and nearly two years of brutal treatment in several Japanese prison camps.

There are many things that have stuck in my mind from this book. One is the incredible dangers of the War in the Pacific. Training was hasty and incomplete, and in the first half of the war more planes were actual lost in training accidents than in combat. Airmen in the Pacific, especially the ones flying in the hastily designed B-24s, had more than a 50% chance of being killed. Crashing into the Pacific in a B-24 was usually fatal, and even if some men survived and were able to deploy a life raft, the rafts were inadequately supplied, and survivors were hard to see in the vast space of the ocean.

GREAT reading by actor Edward Herman.

This is a book that is hard to stop listening to, even as the dangers mount and the torture of prisoners becomes too horrific to tolerate. However, Zamperini’s journey, survival, and self-reinvention make for an inspiring life story. The book was deeply researched and well-written. You will gain a new appreciation for what you likely did NOT have to go through yourself.

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good_stuff_4U
Sep 26, 2019

Based on many real lives, this author took an amazing amount of information and made a real and flawed human being into the hero, which is what real heroism is! I loved the things she puts in here, like the fact more planes were lost in WW II because of mechanical problems than in actual battle. If you only saw the movie, there is so much more in the book.

s
spudwil
Sep 01, 2019

Remarkable story but not as well written as I hoped. It read more like an essay to me. I would recommend watching the movie instead.
One thing I appreciated was the focus on the barbaric treatment that the POWs in Japan had to endure. Most WW2 stories and movies seem to centre around the Germans and the Holocaust while the events in the Pacific seem to be largely ignored.

c
cjbenjamin
Jan 16, 2019

First-person account of WWII on the Pacific front. Incredible story of persistence, brotherhood, despair and resilience. Provided detailed accounts regarding the barbaric treatment of POWs by Japanese soldiers and civilians. Made me re-think a lot about what I felt and thought about WWII. The central and supporting characters are compelling. The authors does get a little over-wrought with the details in parts, but overall it's an engaging read.

w
WoodneathShirlee
Aug 03, 2018

It’s 1943 as an Army Air Force bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean with one survivor, a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, Louis Zamperini. This unforgettable true story follows his struggles of endurance to survive on a raft, imprisonment and trial. It certainly shows the testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit. One of my favorite non-fiction books.

HCL_staff_reviews Jul 23, 2018

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, Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor. — Jennifer W., Westonka Library

j
janicehelliott
May 27, 2018

Totally remarkable...worth 10 stars!

c
Clwebber
Apr 13, 2018

This is well written and inspiring in its way but it is heavy - This is a true story and the main character when through very difficult experiences, even torture. Not to be read unless you are in a good mindset.

j
JXV158
Mar 17, 2018

Excellent biography about Zamperini, his early childhood and success as an Olympic athelete intertwined with the story of his Military service, internment by the Japanese and how his life was transformed. I especially like Hillenbrands attention to historical accuracy. Like the title says, a story of survival, resilience, and redemption - that these POWs persevered despite their treatment at the hands of the Japanese is a testament to the human spirit.

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pink_dolphin_3025
Feb 09, 2019

pink_dolphin_3025 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

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jmli
Apr 02, 2017

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Alanreviews
Feb 17, 2017

Alanreviews thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 59

black_wolf_2329 Jun 09, 2015

black_wolf_2329 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

john6573 Jun 04, 2015

john6573 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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lukeooo2
Feb 18, 2012

lukeooo2 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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lukeooo2
Feb 18, 2012

lukeooo2 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Algonquin_Lisa Mar 05, 2011

Algonquin_Lisa thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Quotes

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ArapahoeMaryA Jul 11, 2020

Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.

w
white_wolf_283
Jul 03, 2015

“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. Louie thought: Let go.”

f
fimango
Jun 24, 2015

"I'm free! I'm free! I'm free!"

Notices

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lukeooo2
Mar 23, 2012

Violence: some parts are grusome.

Algonquin_Lisa Mar 05, 2011

Violence: Main character's treatment in the internment camp was violent.

Summary

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fimango
Jun 24, 2015

Story of Louis Zamperini, started as an Olympian when WWII starts and Louis enlists in the Air Force.

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