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

Extended Audio Sample Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Audiobook, by Laura Hillenbrand Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00001576826951 out of 54.00001576826951 out of 54.00001576826951 out of 54.00001576826951 out of 54.00001576826951 out of 5 4.00 (126,837 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Hillenbrand Narrator: Edward Herrmann Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9780739319703
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On a spring afternoon in 1943, a US Army Air Forces bomber crash landed and disappeared into the Pacific Ocean, leaving only fragments of the plane visible on the surface, along with gasoline, oil and blood.

Then, a man appeared among the debris. It was the plane's bombardier, a young lieutenant, struggling to pull himself aboard a life raft. One of the most remarkable journeys of World War II was about to begin.

The bombardier was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he had been a crafty and unapologetic hooligan, burglarizing houses, and leaving home to ride the rails. When he harnessed his energy into running, he discovered a dormant talent that took him all the way to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. With the arrival of World War II, he became a pilot and began the journey that would lead him to his ill-fated flight and set him adrift at sea on a tiny life raft.

In the open ocean, Lt. Zamperini faced starvation, thirst, enemy aircraft and jumping sharks. Pushed to the limit of his considerable endurance, he met desperation with resourcefulness, brutality with defiance, hardship with brave determination. His very survival depended on his eroding resolve.

In Time's top book of 2010 and #1 New York Times bestseller, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand employs the same eye jeweler's eye for detail and vivid, rich narrative voice that she displayed in her acclaimed 2001 bestseller, Seabiscuit. Unbroken tells the extraordinary tale of a man's odyssey into extremity, and stands testament to the power of human resilience.

In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, 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.

Made into an award-winning Oscar-nominated film in 2014 by director Angelina Jolie, Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by author Laura Hillenbrand.

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Quotes & Awards

  • [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
  • Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic. The Wall Street Journal
     
  • “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
  • 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
  • “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
  • “Monumental…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 tale of triumph and redemption…astonishingly detailed research.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A powerfully drawn survival epic…Extraordinarily moving.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Powerful…Her research is thorough, her writing…crystalline. Unbroken is gripping in an almost cinematic way.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Hillenbrand’s triumph is that in telling Louie’s story, she tells the stories of thousands whose suffering has been mostly forgotten. She restores to our collective memory this tale of heroism, cruelty, life, death, joy, suffering, remorselessness, and redemption.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[Hillenbrand’s] skills are as polished as ever, and…this book has an impossible-to-put-down quality that one commonly associates with good thrillers.”

    Booklist

  • A 2012 Audie Award Finalist for Best Nonfiction Narration
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, December 2010
  • Selected for the December 2010 Indie Next List
  • Winner of the 2012 ALA Notable Book Award for Nonfiction
  • A 2010 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography
  • Winner of the 2011 Indies Choice Book Award for Nonfiction
  • A #1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 RUSA Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2011 Christopher Award for Adult Books
  • A 2013 Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee for Teen
  • A Library Journal Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caroline | 2/14/2014

    " I agree with Jeanette. The book was too scattered and convoluted for the first dozen chapters, then it picked up "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 2/12/2014

    " Not a great book. Reads too long. Considering the subject that she is writing about, it feels like he was constantly trying to stretch a little bit of information. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandon Townley | 1/28/2014

    " Being the grandson of a POW, this book really opened my eyes at what the POW's had to endure. This is a generation of people who is no longer to tell these stories and glad that at least one was able to tell his story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 1/28/2014

    " Absolutely amazing- definitely worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz Roop | 1/24/2014

    " This is such an amazing story of survival and the will to go on. One of the BEST stories I've ever read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mandi Morris | 1/22/2014

    " This is the kind of book that I appreciate, but don't actually enjoy. :/ "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Davis | 1/18/2014

    " Magnificent and in-depth research by Hillenbrand on a fascinating individual. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Esther Yee | 1/17/2014

    " Awesome book! Couldn't put it down! Worth the read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 B | 1/12/2014

    " Fantastic! Very insightful into the war atrocities that occurred in the Pacific during WWII. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jackieinthebox | 1/8/2014

    " This one was hard for me to get into, the first half dragged/read like a history text book and then once it got going it seemed a little embellished. I wasn't even sure I was going to finish it but I finally got through it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie | 1/8/2014

    " Good read. It was about how our men fought ww2 and survived pow camp. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katie Crommett | 1/2/2014

    " It's not quite fair for me to rate this book with one star, as I only got through the first few chapters. The story itself had potential, and it's unfortunate that it is written so poorly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam Blalock | 1/1/2014

    " Awesome true story, I couldn't put the book down. Flabbergasted and rather surreal to think of what some people have lived through and survived against all odds! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly-ann | 12/30/2013

    " What a great book. This book taught me so much about the price of war and the strength of the human spirit. This is not my usual genre or era of book, but I loved it. I highly recommend it. Reading it made me feel patriotic and empowered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 12/13/2013

    " I think I would've given this 3 stars right after I read this. However, it has stayed with me for a long time and I love that. It is a tough story to digest. It is what it is. Not sure I "enjoyed" it but wow, what a story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie Thurston | 12/7/2013

    " This book is why they made a 5-star rating: something that changes the way you see and move through the world, something you will remember forever, something you are so appreciative you were able to be a part of. Wow. Freaking AMAZING story, brilliant writing, simply incredible... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yvette Gibbons | 12/5/2013

    " Slow start, but it really opened up my heart and my eyes to so many things that I did not know. A must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kirsten Ritzen | 10/2/2013

    " what an inspiring tale of survival and resilience, and also how brutal mankind can be. a non-fiction tale that reads like thrilling fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeannie | 4/28/2013

    " a very dark, true story of humanity, with the ever present Hope just on the horizon. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 3/17/2013

    " Truly one of the best books I've read. An inspiration to all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorena | 2/8/2013

    " It was an unbelievable story, but it was so heart breaking, it was a hard for me to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 3/25/2012

    " I would have liked more info about his life after the war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessie | 2/22/2012

    " Amazing story of survival...without gratuitous descriptions of torture! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christy | 12/20/2011

    " Very readable and extremely intense and interesting. A good choice for Durham libraries' Pass the Book 2013 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joni Paranka | 11/19/2011

    " This would be almost hard to accept if it was fiction. What an amazing true story, and what an incredible human being. Loved it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Babs Krueger | 6/21/2011

    " Unbelievable true story of courage and tenacity. Reads like fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill Fleek | 6/6/2011

    " Amazing! This was by far the best book that I have read in a long time! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aimee | 5/24/2011

    " I really loved this book. It was the best I have picked up in a while. It was inspiring, gut wrenching and thought provoking. I would definitely recommend this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 5/24/2011

    " One of the best books I've ever read.... I literally can't put it down! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marie | 5/24/2011

    " Unbelievable, I read this book in two sittings - couldn't put it down. Memorial Day will have a new meaning for me this year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bethgentner | 5/23/2011

    " I was very excited to re-open this book every day to delve further into this incredible journey of strength and faith. I am still stunned by the positive, uplifting tone at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cara | 5/23/2011

    " Gripping real life story of a survivor of a world war II prision of war in Japan. A bit repetitive and length to me "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carla | 5/23/2011

    " The story of the Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini, inspired me. I'm glad Gaylen recommended it--repeatedly and insistently. It's a good one, a well-written story. At one point, I was so engrossed in it that I shrieked and woke Gaylen from his comfortable nap. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jami | 5/23/2011

    " A book that is definitely worth the hype--an amazing story that is very American! in nature. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/23/2011

    " Really good. Depressing and gueling because of the tragic events, but there's triumph at the end, and that's what counts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renea | 5/23/2011

    " I really liked this book because it captured the mood of the WWII era. I can only imagine what it was like to be faced with the horrible atrocities of war. This book honors our WWII veterans with dignity and I was glad my book club chose this book. I would not have read it otherwise. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 5/23/2011

    " Couldn't put this book down. One of the best survival stories I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 5/22/2011

    " This is the book Marilyn read to Anders--at least parts of it. It's excellent--a great historical read. Some parts are hard--the suffering he experiences in the war. You'll like the "fly-boy" parts--it will remind you of your dad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 5/22/2011

    " Inspiring story of survival during WWII-- lost at sea then in Japanese prison camps. Great writing.
    "

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About the Author
Author Laura HillenbrandLaura Hillenbrand is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, and 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. She is serving as a consultant on the Universal Pictures feature film based on Unbroken. Hillenbrand’s New Yorker article, “A Sudden Illness,” won the National Magazine Award. Her work has also appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. She and actor Gary Sinise were the cofounders of Operation International Children, a charity that provided school supplies to children through American troops.
About the Narrator

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Earphones and Audie Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.