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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010)

by Laura Hillenbrand

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,192593519 (4.44)511
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--Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.… (more)
  1. 50
    Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides (phm)
    phm: Nonfiction but reads like fiction and tells of a heroic plot by US Rangers to rescue Allied soldiers from a Japanese POW camp.
  2. 30
    The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Sławomir Rawicz (clif_hiker)
  3. 30
    The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown (terran)
    terran: Both books deal with participants in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and with personal stories of individuals growing up in that time period. Both are incredible true stories that read like fiction.
  4. 20
    Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: both examine prisoners of the Pacific islands
  5. 20
    Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath by Michael Norman (TooBusyReading)
    TooBusyReading: Another remarkable story about survival during WWII, about what humans can do to one another.
  6. 10
    Devil at My Heels by Louis Zamperini (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Louis Zamperini's autobiography published in 2003, with intro by John McCain.
  7. 10
    The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II by Gregory A. Freeman (HistoryNutToo)
  8. 10
    A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead (srdr)
    srdr: A well-told story with similar themes…WW II survival, friendship under difficult conditions.
  9. 10
    We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth (srdr)
    srdr: Jan Baalsrud's incredible survival and escape from Nazi-occupied arctic Norway.
  10. 10
    Lightning Down: A World War II Story of Survival by Tom Clavin (Anonymous user)
  11. 00
    What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes (TooBusyReading)
    TooBusyReading: Based on the author's experiences, starting with the Vietnam war. Gave me lots of insight into war and warriors.
  12. 00
    Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene (cransell)
    cransell: An uplifting true story about World War II. Perhaps a good read after the harsh experiences in Unbroken.
  13. 00
    Road to Valor: A True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation by Aili McConnon (sboyte)
    sboyte: Athletes and their experiences in the second World War.
  14. 00
    Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff (srdr)
    srdr: A gripping, non-fiction story of a WW II airplane crash on Greenland.
  15. 11
    So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family's Fight for Survival During World War II by Michael J. Tougias (Othemts)

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» See also 511 mentions

English (591)  Indonesian (1)  All languages (592)
Showing 1-5 of 591 (next | show all)
I loved it. It was difficult , so many horrible things happen, but the man shines through and the story is immensely satisfying. ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
I saw the movie, "Unbroken", years ago. To this day, it's still one of my favorite movies. I came across the book at the Friends of the Library semi-annual book sale. Since I enjoyed the movie so much, I knew that the book would also be an enjoyable read. As was the movie, the book was quite intense. It's well-written and nicely combines history and Louis Zamperini's recollections of the time period of the second World War. Including the complete history of Mr. Zamperini's life, the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, gives the reader a true indication of his life. A definite must for history buffs and middle/high school students! ( )
  AndreaHelena | Feb 17, 2024 |
This book was recommended to me after I read The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder and I must say that it was a great one. Can hardly believe that this is a true story. Well worth the read if you are looking for a story of human trials and tribulations and how much the human body can put up with in terms harsh treatments which breaks some but motivates others to overcome and transcend beyond. Truely inspirational and a must read for all lovers of non-fiction war time books. ( )
  thanesh | Feb 4, 2024 |
Insightful look at a child's life in the 1920's, competitive running in the 1930's, and after that - flying, air combat, survival at sea, survival in horrific POW camps, survival in marriage, and eventually redemption. The horrors make the redemption that much more remarkable, but the horrors were hard to fathom - and to read. ( )
  dlinnen | Feb 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 591 (next | show all)
"Anyone who enjoyed Hillenbrand's previous book, Seabiscuit, will know that she has a fine line in compelling narrative. Unbroken is no different: meticulously researched and powerful. The reader, unlike the airmen, would rather the days adrift went on longer. They end, however, in grim style. Zamperini and fellow survivor are in sight of land when they are captured by Japanese forces. The Red Cross, however, is never informed and the two are declared dead."
The ideal way to read “Unbroken” would be with absolutely no knowledge of how Mr. Zamperini’s life unfolded. Ms. Hillenbrand has written her book so breathlessly, and with such tight focus, that she makes it difficult to guess what will happen to him from one moment to the next, let alone how long he was able to survive under extreme duress...So “Unbroken” is a celebration of gargantuan fortitude, that of both Ms. Hillenbrand (whose prose shatters any hint of her debilitating fatigue) and Mr. Zamperini’s. It manages to be as exultant as “Seabiscuit” as it tells a much more harrowing, less heart-warming story.


» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hillenbrand, Lauraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herrmann, EdwardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panodal, Jean-FrançoisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics,
Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what
deepest remains?

--Walt Whitman, "The Wound-Dresser"
For the wounded and the lost.
First words
[Preface] All he could see, in every direction, was water. It was June 22, 1943. Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean, American military airman and Olympic runner Louie Zamperini lay on a small raft, drifting.
In the predawn darkness of August 26, 1929, in the back bedroom of a small house in Torrance, California, a twelve-year-old boy sat up in bed, listening.
[Epilogue] On a June day in 1952, just off a winding road in California's San Gabriel Mountains, a mess of boys tumbled out of a truck and stood blinking in the sunshine.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Canonical LCC
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--Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.

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Book description
This book is an eye-opening and awe-inspiring tale told about the horror of war and the challenges that some of the men had to endure. Featuring Louis Zamperini, this book describes some of the terror he had to experience as a POW to the Japanese in WWII.
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