Unbroken

Author(s): Laura Hillenbrand

Staff Picks- Read our reviews below

#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. In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. Then with the start of World War II, the athlete became an airman. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.
 
Yet Louie's willpower faced its ultimate test upon his heroic return home after the war when he grappled with PTSD, struggled to come to terms with the injustices done to him, and was set on the path of redemption by a momentous encounter with famed reverend Billy Graham. Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.
 
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 "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 "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
 
"An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity."--Entertainment Weekly "A tale of triumph and redemption . . . astonishingly detailed."--O: The Oprah Magazine " A] masterfully told true story . . . nothing less than a marvel."--Washingtonian " Hillenbrand tells this] story with cool elegance but at a thrilling sprinter's pace."--Time "Hillenbrand is] 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

This is the fascinating true story of Louis Zamperini, a delinquent turned Olympic athlete who enlists in the airforce in WW2.


Laura's writing style is so informative, she describes the context of what is happening around the world and with different people's storylines at the same time as telling Louis' so it gives a global account as well as a touchingly personal one. Louis begins life born into an Italian family in the USA, and is immediately way more of a handful than most boys! Hilarious (though not for his mother, I'm sure) exploits include his jumping off a train mid-ride at two years old, stealing all the home baking around his neighbourhood, causing an explosion and rigging the town's church bell. He begins to head down a troublesome road as a wayward, volatile teenager and his older brother Pete, whom Louis adores, encourages him to channel his energies into running.

He breaks several long-held records and competes at the Berlin olympics before enlisting as an officer in the airforce.

When his plane crashes in the middle of the ocean, he and two crew members have to survive 47 days on a failling life raft, surrounded by circling sharks. It's an amazing account. When they finally think they spot land, the Japanese capture them and they are detained on an island in tiny cells before being sent as prisoners of war to Japan.

What follows are devastating events of a sadistic Japanese corporal who chooses Louis as his particular target, and it is shocking what Louis has to endure at the hands of this man, known to prisoners as 'the Bird', though his fiery spirit and perseverance are remarkable under the circumstances.

The book describes his entire time as a prisoner of war, and the years afterward - the heart aching descent of Louis into depression, anxiety and alcoholism as a way of escaping his memories and experiences. What is truly inspirational is how he moves on from this state of being and regains his life to the fullest again. Louis is an infectiously likeable person, and his story is really something. Jemma

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'The pages almost turn themselves. His tale is remarkable and his resilience inspiring.' Ben Macintyre 'An instant classic.' Mail on Sunday 'Hillenbrand must be congratulated for chiselling out such an uplifting story!This is tremendous stuff.' Daily Telegraph 'A riveting read.' Spectator 'Hillenbrand's storytelling is gripping.' Financial Times '"Unbroken" is an extraordinarily compelling read, a match for any thriller!a remarkable book.' Evening Standard '"Unbroken" is gripping in an almost cinematic way. To have written something so ambitious and powerful under such trying circumstances is an act of courage even a Louis Zamperini would admire.' Scotsman Praise for Seabiscuit 'A rip-roaring narrative from a cobwebbed chapter of the Depression' Sunday Times 'Hillenbrand tells the story of the triumphs and tribulations of her cast of misfits with flair and skill, relishing the larger than life characters who inhabited this forgotten demimonde.' Sunday Times 'Most readable!a wonderful tale' Daily Mail 'This season's literary sensation' Financial Times A classic tale.' Sunday Times' 'Great horse, great name, great story, very good book!this one could run and run' Observer

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the number-one bestseller Seabiscuit, which won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. It was made into a major international film, 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. 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.

General Fields

  • : 9780007378036
  • : HarperCollins Publishers Australia
  • : Fourth Estate Ltd
  • : January 2012
  • : 197mm X 130mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 940.54/7252092 B
  • : very good
  • : 500
  • : Illustrations, 1 map, ports.
  • : Laura Hillenbrand
  • : Paperback
  • : 412
  • : English