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

Written by:
Laura Hillenbrand
Narrated by:
Edward Herrmann

Unabridged Audiobook

Ratings
Book
765
Narrator
140
Release Date
November 2010
Duration
13 hours 57 minutes
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
Reviews
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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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Jade C.

very good book sure I will play it again & again over the years

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Anonymous

The book was exhilarating but the narrator was a little slow.

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Emily S.

I couldn't get through this book. I tried on a few occasions but I was worried I would fall asleep while driving. The story itself if quite interesting but the writing drags on.

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Martin T.

An awesome and unbelievably great read! I couldn’t stop listening to it! Edward Hermann is a perfect narrator!

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Don C.

This may be the best book I have listened to on Audio Books. The details and the narrator were fantastic.

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Elisabeth H

I’ve recently had eye surgery, so I chose to try audio books. I’m thoroughly impressed with both the format and the book. I thought this would last me about three weeks. I finished listening to it in five days. Amazing story!

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Tasya B

Bored me, not into unbelievable feelgood stories I guess or classic Americana

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Lisa Carnes

Louie Zamperini has been a personal hero of mine after reading this book. The book itself was wonderfully written, the story one of the most inspiring things I've heard.

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Analie Leatherman

An amazing book! An amazing story! I could hardly quit listening to it.

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Sammy Travis Jr

Words can't describe this. It was an absolutely amazing book. It was not what I was expecting at all.

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Jake Angier

This is great story of how a war veteran suffered and went through many hardships. I really enjoyed the ending.

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Rowan Hill

Great story, well told. Full of wonderful narrative and enlightening historical detail.

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Quinn Knox

Honestly I was bored for most of the book. It was a straightforward story and nothing was bad about it but I didn't feel captivated by the story. I can see why many people will love this story, especially history buffs but for someone who isn't familiar with Louie Zamperini I felt this read much like an autobiography that was dragged out.

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David Goodrich

What a great listen!!! Definitely pasted the time on my daily drive. The narration was excellent!!! Dave

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Jennifer Buswell

Incredibly good. I have been scouring the Internet for all things Zamperini since experiencing this book. I agree with another reviewer's comment that you will sit in the driveway to listen to more-it is that amazing. I mostly listen to fiction, but now I have a new hunger for historical and other nonfiction writing. Bravo, Laura Hillenbrand.

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Ariel Haug

Amazing story brought to life with exceptional writing and research. Great audiobook for marathon training!

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Tara McKenzie

If a book is going to discuss torture it's probably a good idea to make sure the narrator knows how to pronounce the word "sadism".

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Carrie Bobrowsky

Wow, what a powerful book!!! What a fighter, loved this book!!

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Elynor Ficken

Nell, Wow!!! What a read. It was very difficult to believe the perseverance of these men. All the more reason to salute & admire our troops & pilots for everything they gave. So well narrated. Great voice.

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Glenda Fichter

Wow What a read! I listened to this with my daughter and it definitely was captivating. It brought a tear to our eyes on more than one occasion! It was great for her to learn all about the important history of the 2nd world war from such a well written book. We have a new appreciation for war veterans. Highly recommended.

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Tamara Malan

Wow!!! What a truly superb story A gripping emotional saga that keeps you enthralled until the very last minute. This book is a vivid portrait of a heartbreaking and destructive. Beautifully narrated the change of voices and accent through out amazing. I would HIGHLY recommend this book.

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shauni kirby

Such amazing men. such an amazing life. all told so brilliantly by an amazing writer.

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Christopher Zott

This book was fabulous. It's a shame the movie ignores Louie's epiphany. For me it was as incredible as his survival. Comparable to when John Paul II forgave his assassin. I've never cried reading (listening) to a book before, but I have now. All I can say is wow. I'd encourage anyone to read it. I continue to marvel at the men that fought for our country in this horrific war.

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Joey Hill

Narrator was awesome and very clear. This book was one of the best read books I have listen to this year.

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Robert Hanley

Outstanding listen. And I would reccommend to anyone looking for true tokifebooks

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Brigid Kowalczyk

Such a good book! Amazing what the human spirit and body can survive....and the evil that lurks in some hearts! I loved the ending. God is good.

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Andrea Caldwell

Only one word. AMAZING

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Nicole VanNieuwenhoven

This book broke my heart as it's hard to believe the trauma the poor man went through. Very well researched by the author and I would recommend reading the book before watching the movie, as the movie cuts out so much detail.

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Shannon Celli

What a fantastic way to learn about history. I am 52 years old and never knew the terrors that our veterans endured. This was an amazing story and well told. However it was worse than any horror movie I've ever watched my applause to Hildebrand's research and prose.

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glenice nickel

Well written and narrated. Gripping. Bongs you in aspart of the story and the horror that these soldiers endured. Thank you yo

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Anonymous

Absolutely riveting, well written and if you have had any family members serving in World War II, it ripped my heart out just how horrid the conditions were and what they endured for our country.

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ROSEANNE bravman

Worth the hype! Narration was as good as the story.

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Natalie Magleby

One of the very best audio books I have listened to! A well written, interesting, and informative book, narrated wonderfully. I have recommended this book a hundred times now! You won't be sorry.

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Heidi Mckee

Only bad thing about this book is that it was over. Will read it again. Loved it

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Scott miller

I find myself wishing my drive time was longer. Hours go by so fast. This book pulls you in and the emotions of each character are well described, so good that you can feel them in your throat as you hear the narrator read. I am constantly trying to find time to hear a little more.

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Breeahna Harvey

GREAT writing! MARVELOUS reading! This amazing story is not only an entertaining read, in this case listen, it is a powerful account of love, change, sorrow, inspiration, horror, hurt, hate, and back to love again! I know that through Jesus Christ there can be true, real healing and strength! Louis found it, and so can all of us! Zamperini truly was a remarkable man!

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Michelle sedberry

This book is amazing. I finished it in two days because I could not stop listening!

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Vincent England

One of my best books to date. A must if you haven't yet

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Rodney Eales

This was a riveting story from start to finish. It is an unbelievable story about a true hero that is hard to believe one man can withstand such tragedy.

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Kevin Mayes

Amazing story that is told perfectly. Truly amazing

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Adrian Davis

excellent message, wrll documented, makes histurical events alive. Talented reader.

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Joe Joseph

Excellent. Very moving. I want to see the movie after finishing the book.

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Rita Staudt

You have to read this one, a true story of WWII. From the soldiers point of view. No politics. Well written and told.

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Barbara Skipper

This is an amazing book, and it works well in the audio format. Hillenbrand is an exquisite writer. I'm glad I took the time to listen to it. It was never boring.

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Mary Thomas

This was the best book I have read (or listened to) in a long time! It's not just a book for boys either women and you will waste a lot of gas sitting in the driveway because you can't stop listening.

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Joe Madron

Absolutely amazing story. This book is very well written and brings you back to a very dark time in history.

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Michael Rauch

I've told everyone I know about this book... When I have a rough day or week or month I now think about what this man had to endure... The will to survive!!!!

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Jessie Brouwer

A life changing book! No exaggeration. The author has an uncanny ability to make every word valuable to the story and character development. The storyline is also unmatched by any biography I've ever read. By the end of the book I just wanted to sit in Louie's presence and absorb him.

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David Underwood

A thoughtful and impacting book. It is well written account of a remarkable man. I will surely be a better person for having read it.

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JIM C

The best audiobook I have listened to so far. This is a must listen, both the story as well as the narration are excellent.

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Julia Champagne

Completely amazing book!! It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you forever grateful to the men and women who sacrificed themselves for our country. As exciting and hard to put down as a novel, and once again it is proven that truth is stranger and more incredible than fiction. Everyone should read this!

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Janet Batts

Incredible! Best book I've read in years. I am a Methodist minister and I will be using this amazing story in my sermon this morning. I pray that Laura is having many more "good" days than bad. I, too, know chronic pain as I have fibromyalgia . God speed Laura. Admiringly, Janet

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Doug Troyer

By far the best book I've listened too. Terribly interesting

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Laura Sherrill

Amazing! I loved listening to this amazing story. There were no dragging point in the story and the narration was perfect. I would read it again and again!

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Barb Short

This is a must read to appreciate the cost of our freedom and the sacrifices made by our veterans. It is an inspiring story of redemption and forgiveness as well.

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angelina miley

I can't remember the last book I read that made me cry. But I'll remember now because this one did just that. Edward Hermann is a wonderful, engrossing narrator. This story has something for everyone, because it's not a story, like real life there is joy and sadness, fear and courage. Highly highly recommended.

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Dale Quigley

Lest we forget ..... A wonderful testament to the strength of human spirit.

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Lars

This gripping story sickened me when I read of the cruelty of his captors, strengthened me when I read of his endurance, and amazed me when I read of his God who had a purpose for all of it.

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Enid Long

This is one of my most favorite biography. Some parts just seem unbelievable, but are all true. I would recommend to everyone, even people who did not live through the war. It is an amazing book!

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Kris

Some very good books do not read well. This is a great book with a great reader. Try not to be entranced, I dare you.

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Kathy

It is amazing that anyone could survive all that he survived and eventually become a true role model.

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samansb

A great history of survival from World War II. written very well. Couldn't help but feel that I that I was with the men.

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Peggy Stortz

Although this book started out slow for me, once I got into it I couldn't put it down. I learned more than anyone would ever want to know about being adrift in a life raft with sharks circling and then being subjected to the worst kind of torture in a pow camp.

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Anonymous

In my 50+ years of reading, I have enjoyed thousands of books. Some of them became part of who I am... "To Kill a Mockingbird" "The Book Thief" and now "Unbroken" joins my treasured list. My only regret is that my father, a World War II Vet, did not live long enough to read this book. Read this book and be prepared to laugh, cry, and enjoy a remarkable journey of human spirit.

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Anonymous

A great story told with history and statistics that wake this American born reader to a renewed vision of the horror and savagery endured and character of U.S. and allied soldiers of WWII in the pacific. The story is grueling and long at times but creates a sense of the never-ending and seemingly hopeless saga some of our fathers and grandfathers had to live through. Seemed like a documentary of the heart of the characters under extreme conditions and truisms as result of body and mind at the brink. The sole of the book is infections and offers a different portrait of Americans that is anything but ugly.

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pareader

If you read any book this year, read this one. I can't begin to do it justice in a review. Read it.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
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This title is due for release on November 16, 2010
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