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

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Edward Herrmann

13 Hours 57 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

November 2010

Audio Book Summary

#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

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  • Anonymous

    From the first cd, this book was the type that you sit in your car in the driveway listening to it because it is so good.

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  • fred

    This unbelievable story is the best book I've read since Coming Out of the Ice. Fiction cannot hold a candle to truth! My day was totally made when I discovered a recent interview on Jay Leno with Louis Zamperini, now 95. An amazing man, a hard to digest but ultimately inspirational read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Excellent book on life changing events beyond your control and how to survive. Inspiring story for all and will be especially appreciated by history lovers.

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  • Anonymous

    An amazing story of perserverance, courage and faith. Hillenbrand is an exceptional writer whose novels show the vulnerabilities of men and the courage needed to overcome them.

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  • Albert

    Reading about wartime atrocities can be unpleasant, but this book presents important history about unbridled cruelty and incredible courage that should not be forgotten. It is well-researched, well-written, and well-narrated. If you're looking for Mary Poppins, this will not be your cup of tea. If you are interested in unvarnished truth about World War II, you will be rewarded here.

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  • morristutor

    Beyond belief, but true. Hard to take in some of the atrocities, but gripping and inspiring.

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  • Jeff B.

    An AMAZING story of Louis Zamperini's (a WWII pilot and Olympian) capture and survival in Japan. I could not wait for my commute to and from work each day. The 11 CDs will go by quickly and there is NEVER a dull moment. I looked up many of the people in this story and Lou Zamperini is still alive today. This is an awesome audiobook. Highly recommended.

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  • g.w. from Plano, TX

    I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female. It is a great book and I very much enjoyed it.

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  • Diane M

    This is an terrific biography of an amazing man who lived through WW 2, lost on a raft at sea for many weeks, then captured by Japanese soldiers and suffered for many months in several prisoner of war camps....each one worse than the other. "Unbroken" is a great title and Edward Herrman is perfect as the narrator.

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  • Anonymous

    I listened in my car and couldn't wait to get stuck in traffic just so I could keep listening. This story keeps unfolding until the very last paragraph.

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