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About the Author

Laura Hillenbrand was born in Fairfax, Virginia on May 15, 1967. She studied at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, but was forced to leave before graduation because she contracted chronic fatigue syndrome. She has been writing about history and thoroughbred racing since 1988 and has been a show more contributing writer and editor at Equus magazine since 1989. Her work has appeared in many other publications including The New Yorker, American Heritage, ABC Sports Online, Thoroughbred Times, Talk, and The Backstretch. Her 1998 American Heritage article on Seabiscuit won her an Eclipse Award for outstanding feature article. In 2004, she won the National Magazine Award for the New Yorker article, A Sudden Illness. Her first book Seabiscuit: An American Legend won the Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001. She served as a consultant on the Universal Pictures movie Seabiscuit, which was based on her book. Her second book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, a biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, was also made into a movie. She was honored by the Turf Publicists of America for her contributions to the sport of thoroughbred racing with the 36th annual Big Sport of Turfdom award, making her just the fifth woman to win the award. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Baltimore Sun

Works by Laura Hillenbrand

Associated Works

Seabiscuit [2003 film] (2003) — Original book — 500 copies, 2 reviews
The Best American Essays 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 293 copies, 1 review
Unbroken [2014 film] (2014) — Original book — 250 copies, 4 reviews
The Best American Magazine Writing 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 82 copies, 1 review


2011 (83) 20th century (76) American history (156) animals (168) audio (56) audiobook (93) biography (1,252) biography-memoir (63) book club (88) ebook (99) fiction (121) Great Depression (75) historical (69) history (1,054) horse (58) horse racing (415) horses (355) Japan (289) Kindle (126) Louis Zamperini (129) memoir (96) military (93) military history (67) non-fiction (1,720) Olympics (135) own (74) Pacific (61) POW (183) prisoners of war (147) racing (68) read (160) running (68) Seabiscuit (71) sports (341) survival (309) to-read (890) unread (63) USA (82) war (183) WWII (1,238)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Hillenbrand, Laura
Fairfax, Virginia, USA
Places of residence
Fairfax, Virginia, USA
Washington, D.C., USA
Kenyon College (BA|1989)
sports journalist
Operation Iraqi Children
Awards and honors
William Hill Sports Book of the Year (2001)
Eclipse Award (1998, 2001)
Short biography
Laura Hillenbrand (born May 15, 1967) is an American author of books and magazine articles. Her two bestselling nonfiction books, Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001) and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010), have sold over 13 million copies, and each was adapted for film. Her writing style is distinct from New Journalism, dropping "verbal pyrotechnics" in favor of a stronger focus on the story itself.

Hillenbrand fell ill in college and was unable to complete her degree. She shared that experience in an award-winning essay, A Sudden Illness, published in The New Yorker in 2003. Her books were written while she was disabled by that illness. In a 2014 interview, Bob Schieffer said to Laura Hillenbrand: "To me your story – battling your disease... is as compelling as his (Louis Zamperini's) story."



A remarkable story, a remarkable man, a remarkable life.
SteveCarl | 594 other reviews | Jun 24, 2024 |
He was a delinquent and an athlete and when WWII broke out he became an airman. In 1943 he embarked on a doomed flight and he crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Against all odds, he survived. Then a trial even greater. This is a unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.
ImmanuelPPLibrary | 594 other reviews | Jun 12, 2024 |
Wow... words fail me. This book was amazing, heartbreaking, moving, terrifying, inspirational, unbelievable... beautiful. I don't typically read non-fiction, but my book club selected it. I am so very glad they did.
My grandfather was a Navy Ace in WWII, and was shot down over Japanese waters and forced to wait for rescue in his tiny life raft. After almost 12 hours, he saw a ship on the horizon and used his signal mirror (which we still have), not knowing if it was an American or a Japanese vessel. It turned out to be American, and he was rescued. His story has been a part of my family's history for as long as I can remember, and also chronicled in numerous accounts and books. Clearly, my grandfather's story doesn't come close to what Louie endured, however my beloved, heroic grandfather died in 2009, and after reading this book, I now realize the unparalleled opportunity I missed out on by not speaking with him in detail about his time in the war. READ THIS BOOK.… (more)
kdegour23 | 594 other reviews | May 29, 2024 |
Note to self: unread but own (read juvenile edition)
libraryofemma | 594 other reviews | Apr 18, 2024 |



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