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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival,…

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

by Laura Hillenbrand

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,052477511 (4.45)444
  1. 50
    Ghost Soldiers 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 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.
  3. 30
    The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz (clif_hiker)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 10
    We die alone by David Howarth (srdr)
    srdr: Jan Baalsrud's incredible survival and escape from Nazi-occupied arctic Norway.
  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
    Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: both examine prisoners of the Pacific islands
  9. 10
    Devil at My Heels by Louis Zamperini (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Louis Zamperini's autobiography published in 2003, with intro by John McCain.
  10. 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)
  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
    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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

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Showing 1-5 of 476 (next | show all)
Real eye opener about many facets of life in the first half of the 20th century. Following this amazing American life teaches you a thousand things about America, the Olympics, WWII, Japan. etc. ( )
  ikeman100 | May 9, 2017 |
Unbroken is the life story of Louis (Louie) Zamperini. The story is truly incredible as is chronicles his life growing up in California in the 1920’s where he always finds himself in trouble and running is his outlet to rid him of his thieving ways. Louie eventually earned a spot on the United States Olympic Track and Field team where he competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the 5,000-meter race. Although young by Olympic standards, Louie finishes the best among any of the American participants in the race. From his experience in the 1936 Olympics, Louie is primed to be a medal contender in the 1940 Tokyo Olympics. Between those two Olympic games, World War II breaks out and Louie joins the United States Army where he is on a bomber crew in the Pacific Theatre. One day when doing a routine mission, Louie and his crew experience engine failure and wreck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Louie and another airman ultimately survive for 47 days in the Pacific Ocean. They are captured by the Japanese and Louie is taken to Japan as a prisoner of war. Louie goes through many hardships in captivity mainly the beatings he takes from the head of the camp, a man known as Bird. When the war ends, Louie is sent back to the United States and he goes through a tough time with his PTSD because of his time in captivity in Japan. Louie eventually finds God and forgives all who wronged him during the war when he was in captivity. This was an incredible book. The story of Louie Zapperini was so intriguing it was almost too unreal to be true. Going from an elite Olympic runner who dreamed of gold in the 1940 Tokyo Olympics that never happened to becoming a Japanese prisoner of war was of great irony. After comparing the book to the movie, the movie left out one major part of the book. In the book, Louie’s biggest challenge in life was overcoming the trauma he received as a POW. In the movie, his biggest challenge was surviving the war. Great book to teach students about Japanese captivity. Good book to learn about World War II fighter crews and also a good book to teach about persevering through hardships.
  dennehycm32 | Apr 10, 2017 |
What more can be said about this great book? I will never understand how people could have survived what they went through as POWs in Japan.
I did like that this book delved a little deeper than most in that you saw not all the Japanese were horrible to the prisoners.
Still, what a gripping story and what an amazing man Lou Zamperini was. ( )
  antrat1965 | Apr 7, 2017 |
Summary: This novel follows the life and times of Louis Zamperini during WWII. Louie was a bad boy who found the joy in running at a young age. Louis dreamed of going to the Olympics. Little did he know, he would go to the Olympics in Germany and run in front of Hitler. Louis joins the Army and begins to train for war. Sadly Louie will have a long road ahead of him with the war. This novel gives the reader an inside look of what it was like to be a POW during a horrific war, gives the theme of love and loss, triumph and determination.

Personal Response: A friend of mine recommended this book to me a while back, and I never got around to reading it, until now. This book made my top 10 list of books. I am not a big history buff, however this book is written so well that the history aspect of it is so easy to understand and not boring. As I was reading the sad parts, I thought it couldn’t get even sadder, but it did. It amazing to think that one man was able to overcome such a terrible time in his life. I liked this book because it was a WWII story, but from the Japanese side of the war, and the POW’s. This book has some very adult like situations, emotions, and language, however I would suggest it to the right young adult.

Curriculum Connection: I would have this book in the library, even though it has some explicit content. I think it is important for readers to read texts like these to understand the enormity of WWII. ( )
  Lisette25 | Feb 26, 2017 |
This book made it into my top 10 easy and maybe even my top 5! I can not even express to you the range of emotions I felt when listening to this story. I got the audio version from Cracker Barrel due to a long car trip I was taking. I listened for a good long time but got to my destination only when Louie was getting in the Green Hornet. On the ride home I had my 8 and 11 year old with me. I started listening again thinking they were playing on their iPhones, etc. They were not. They became enraptured in Louie's story as well. When I realized they were listening I turned it off and a chorus of complaints came from the back seat begging me to turn it back on. So I did and the three of us together endured the thirst, the hunger, and the fear of sharks and Japanese fighters together. When we got to the POW camps I again tried to turn it off but they refused. I relented, several times having to pull over so they could stand outside the car so I could preview a certain scene or two. Only twice did I need to fast forward. We all three loved Louie and Phil and Bill's story. My girls could not believe the horrors these men had to face in nature, but were even more horrified of the atrocities other humans could inflict on them as well. I'm proud though that they heard of these types of things happening and yet these men were able to overcome and with such dignity. I wanted them to know that, yes horrible things may happen to you - sometimes over and over again - but good always wins and the human spirit can outshine evil. I am proud of Louie and these men and I hope that I can lead my life in such a way that I too am a role model for my children. We have much to be thankful for because of these men and men and women like them. ( )
  annabw | Feb 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 476 (next | show all)
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.


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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hillenbrand, Lauraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herrmann, EdwardNarratorsecondary 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.
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All he could see, in every direction, was water.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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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)

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