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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, 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:
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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

  • 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
  • “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
  • 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
  • “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.”


  • “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.”


  • 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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Michael | 1/28/2014

    " Absolutely amazing- definitely worth the read. "

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