Unbroken

Unbroken

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

Large Print - 2010
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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 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.

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 : Random House, 2010.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9780375435010
Characteristics: xix, 776 p. :,ill., maps ;,24 cm.

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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

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janicehelliott
May 27, 2018

Totally remarkable...worth 10 stars!

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.

a
AmanjotKDhaliwal
Jan 20, 2018

I’ve always liked historical fiction (particularly those focused around WWI and WWII), but I have not had luck in finding a good non-fiction/biography until now. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand felt as though I was there are knew Louis Zamperini myself. Had it not been a biography I would not have liked it as much because the things he went through seemed so unbelievable. I do not know much about World War II so I cannot say much from a technical viewpoint, but I enjoyed the book and loved how the author seamlessly added facts at just the right places - intensifying my emotions towards what was happening. By the middle of the book I was turning around, no matter where I was, every couple of seconds to tell the people around me about what was happening because it was so moving. As expected, it did slow down a bit at the end, but I refused to put it down until I read through everything and figured out what happened (even the author’s notes at the end which, to be honest, I usually just quickly skim through). I will definitely not forget anything about this book anytime soon.

a
alexander_paster
Oct 24, 2017

I feel this book deserves a 4.5 star rating because of the imagery that the author uses through out the whole book. It really does seem like it was told from this person directly.

s
schereddy
Oct 24, 2017

I read this book for English class as a project. I think this book is a great non-fiction book about the troubles of a veteran and a prisoner of war because it highlights the transformation of the main character, Louie Zamperini, in a unique way that differs from many other non-fiction books about war. I think the author, Laura Hillenbrand, thoroughly researched the accounts and diaries of many soldiers to produce such a masterpiece of a book. Therefore, I recommend this book to those that love books about war or post-war experiences.

j
Jogr77
Jul 18, 2017

A Truly, remarkable Story. Many stories amongst the main story. Transformation. Loving your enemies, under great duress, heart break, cruelty. Giving back to those, who, need someone to really care.

Cheryl_JHL Jun 02, 2017

I listened...then relistened, and am now listening again.

The first time through, I listened during runs and hikes, then progressed to listening to it here, there, everywhere just so I could hear more. It is so well done, and so worth reading. If you are expecting a dry, dull narrative in age tinted black and white, you could not be more wrong. If the idea of sitting down to read non-fiction leaves you cold, opt for the audiobook narrated by the late Edward Herrmann. He was wonderful to listen to.

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jmli
Apr 02, 2017

I would've given this 2 stars, but seeing that I usually don't like biographies, I've given it a 3.

I've seen videos and interviews of Zamperini following the book, and I can tell that Laura Hillenbrand must have done a ton of research on Louie Zamperini.

However, the characters I barely had any connection with. In the book, Louis Zamperini is very resilient and optimistic. I think I can definitely believe that, but sometimes, it felt too far-fetched. I had no way of relating to the protagonist, and the most impactful character for me was Mac, one of the crew members who survives the plane crash. He throws tantrums and gets depressed, but I found that his emotions were the most well-conveyed. In this period of time, I guess Louis was supposed to be some kind of hero, but I couldn't feel anything.

Hillenbrand makes Louie this hero who was helping everyone out, yet he becomes the opposite of that after the conflict, drinking with PTSD. I felt that this was the first time we actually witnessed Louie's emotions. Maybe he just had everything bottled up during the War, but he hadn't shown enough for readers to relate to him.

Overall, it is a decent book though and worth a try.

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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

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.

Quotes

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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!"

Summary

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f
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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