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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Laura Hillenbrand

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  • Publisher: Waterbrook Press (A Division of Random House Inc)
  • Format: Hardback | 473 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 241mm x 46mm | 862g
  • Publication date: 16 November 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Colorado
  • ISBN 10: 1400064163
  • ISBN 13: 9781400064168
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 8,846

Product description

#1 "NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER - SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE - Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by "Time" magazine - Winner of the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize for biography and the Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year award 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"

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Author information

Laura Hillenbrand""is the author of the #1 "New York Times" bestseller "Seabiscuit: An American Legend, "which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, won the Book Sense Book of the Year Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, landed on more than fifteen best-of-the-year lists, and inspired the film "Seabiscuit, "which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Hillenbrand's "New Yorker" article, "A Sudden Illness," won the 2004 National Magazine Award, and she is a two-time winner of the Eclipse Award, the highest journalistic honor in Thoroughbred racing. She and actor Gary Sinise are the co-founders of Operation International Children, a charity that provides school supplies to children through American troops. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Customer reviews

By Katie Weber 25 Jul 2012 5

Title: Unbroken
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Publisher: Random House Publishing
Length: 473 pages
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Rating Scale:
1 Star= I flat out hated it/terrible/I wanted to scratch my eyes out.
2 Stars= I didn't like it
3 Stars= It was okay/I moderately liked it
4 Stars= I really liked it, but it wasn't totally perfect
5 Stars= Holy literary gods! I LOVED this book!

Plot Summary:
This novel focuses on Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner training for the upcoming 1940 Olympics. However, as World War II breaks out, Louis becomes an Army Air Force bomber. Unfortunately, his plane crashes, and he is stuck out at sea for days. He is forced to survive vicious attacks, cruel enemies, and most importantly himself.

Thoughts:
This book is amazing. I loved it. I am particularly fond of historical fiction/memoirs, and this totally beat every other historical fiction/memoir books I have ever read. I encourage you to read this book. Since reading this book, I am prouder to be an American, and I am forever grateful to men and women like Louis who make EXTREME sacrifices out of the goodness of their hearts for the common stranger.

Recommendations:
I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy historical nonfiction/memoirs.

By Nicola Mansfield 12 Feb 2011 5

Reason for Reading: This book dealt with many topics that interest me: World War II, especially the war with Japan, the Japanese war atrocities and survival stories, especially those at sea.

What an amazing book! I would give it 10/10 if I could and two thumbs up if it were a movie. I'd be very surprised if it wasn't made into a movie either, unless telling about the relatively unknown Japanese atrocities is too much for Hollywood to handle.

Louis Zamperini was a boy with humble beginnings, who grew up to have a shot at Olympic stardom, which was torn away from him by WWII and instead replaced by one of the most horrific survival stories you will ever hear. Seven years in the writing Hillenbrand has brought a book and a story that will not be forgotten by time. This is a story that everyone need read to see what despicable, horrific things human beings are capable of doing to others and how the spirit of other human beings are capable of surviving even the most degrading and self-demeaning tasks placed on top of daily torture of the most extreme kind. This book is hard to read in many places, but is also full of many moments of pathos. The POWs managed to find little ways to brighten their days at the expense of their prison keepers to help keep their morale up.

Louis started life as a thief and a thug, until his older brother took his energy and placed it into something more constructive. Track. Louis was a natural, but didn't take to it kindly at first, since he easily won without trying, until he saw that with real effort he could actually break efforts and his dream for the Olympics took over and he became a changed youth, participating in the Berlin Olympics. The War came along, and the draft changed Louis's life forever. As a bombardier of a B-29 he survived a crash into the Pacific Ocean and floating aboard a life raft for a record breaking 47 days with two other crew members only to be "rescued" in the end by the Japanese. Where he then spent the rest of the war with Japan as a POW in their Geneva Convention breaking camps. As one officer is quoted as saying "This is not Geneva. This is Japan."

The rags to riches story of Louis' childhood truly endears him to the reader as a character one really cares for. He is a sharp, intelligent man-youth, witty and with a sense of fun, that one cannot help but fall for him. Making his life story all that more horrific. Hillenbrand has done a good job of bringing Zamperini to life as a human being with his character strengths, quirks and flaws. The survival in the Pacific makes for absolutely riveting, unbearable and compelling reading. Hillenbrand, while writing of the POW experience, also manages to reveal some information on why the Japanese atrocities are so little known today and why their war criminals were given amnesty, while German war criminals are still hunted down to this day. (Though I believe what they presume to be the last living war criminal was extradited in just the recent past.) It certainly had nothing to do with the Japanese being any less inhumane during the war. In Hillenbrand's "Acknowledgements" she notes that the war is still a controversial topic in Japan and some of her Japanese sources asked not to be named. A MUST READ BOOK!!!

By A.W. van Gelder 21 Jan 2011 5

It get.

Review quote

"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. . . . When it comes to courage, charisma, and impossible adventure, few will ever match 'the boy terror of Torrance, ' and few but the author of "Seabiscuit" could tell his tale with such humanity and dexterity. Hillenbrand has given us a new national treasure."--Christopher McDougall, author of "Born to Run" "Riveting . . . an exceptional portrait . . . So haunting and so beautifully written, those who fall under its spell will never again feel the same way about World War II and one of its previously unsung heroes.""--The Columbus Dispatch" "Magnificent . . . incredible . . . [Hillenbrand] has crafted another masterful blend of sports, history and overcoming terrific odds; this is biography taken to the nth degree, a chronicle of a remarkable life lived through extraordinary times.""--The Dallas Morning News"" " "No other author of narrative nonfiction chooses her subjects with greater discrimination or renders them with more discipline and commitment. If storytelling were an Olympic event, [Hillenbrand would] medal for sure."--"Salon"" ""A celebration of gargantuan fortitude . . . full of unforgettable characters, multi-hanky moments and wild turns . . . Hillenbrand is a muscular, dynamic storyteller."--"The New York Times"" ""[A] masterfully told true story . . . nothing less than a marvel."--"Washingtonian"" ""Zamperini's story is certainly one of the most remarkable survival tales ever recorded. What happened after that is equally remarkable."--Graydon Carter," Vanity Fair""Irresistible . . . Hillenbrand demonstrates a dazzling ability--one "Seabiscuit "only hinted at--to make the tale leap off the page."--"Elle ""A tale of triumph and redemption . . . astonishingly detailed."--"O: The Oprah Magazine"" ""An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity."--"Entertainment Weekly ""Intense . . . You better hold onto the reins."--"The Boston Globe ""Incredible . . . Zamperini's life is one of courage, heroism, humility and unflagging endurance."--"St. Louis Post Dispatch ""Hillenbrand has once again brought to life the true story of a forgotten hero, and reminded us how lucky we are to have her, one of our best writers of narrative history. You don't have to be a sports fan or a war-history buff to devour this book--you just have to love great storytelling."--Rebecca Skloot, author of" The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"