#1 "NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER - SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE - Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more. 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, ...Read More#1 "NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER - SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE - Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more. 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. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, 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. In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in "Seabiscuit." Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, "Unbroken" is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit. 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" " " "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" "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"Read Less
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This book is the true story of one man's survival and triumph over incredible events. It is very well written and is soon to be released as a movie. No fictional account could compare with what actually happened to this man. His courage and will to live overcame obstacles that few of us could face. It is an unforgettable story.
Sep 19, 2014
A Taut Story of Survival in World War II
Unbroken is a dramatic and taut biography of Olympic runner, bombardier, and World War II prisoner of war Louie Zamperini. This fast-moving book tells of Zamperini's turbulent boyhood, experiences at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, his service on a B-24 Liberator in the Pacific, his survival epic on a raft in the Pacific, malnourishment and mistreatment in Japanese prisoner of war camps, and his recovery from alcoholism in the years after World War II. Author Laura Hillenbrand is unflinching in her portrayal of Japanese atrocities in the Asia/Pacific Theater. The book emphasizes the themes of courage, survival, and forgiveness. Though a thoroughly documented and meticulously researched historical biography, this book reads like an engrossing novel--once you get started on this book it will be very difficult to put down.
Sep 9, 2014
Soon to be a movie!
Amazing story about an amazing person! A must read.
Aug 24, 2014
This guy just died. What a life! USA lucky to have him.
Apr 24, 2014
This book is very interesting, and a true story, although emotionally difficult to read at times because of the extremely difficult situations this man, Mr. Zamperini, is in.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-10-11 From the 1936 Olympics to WWII Japan's most brutal POW camps, Hillenbrand's heart-wrenching new book is thousands of miles and a world away from the racing circuit of her bestselling Seabiscuit. But it's just as much a page-turner, and its hero, Louie Zamperini, is just as loveable: a disciplined champion racer who ran in the Berlin Olympics, he's a wit, a prankster, and a reformed juvenile delinquent who put his thieving skills to good use in the POW camps, In other words, Louie is a total charmer, a lover of life-whose will to live is cruelly tested when he becomes an Army Air Corps bombardier in 1941. The young Italian-American from Torrance, Calif., was expected to be the first to run a four-minute mile. After an astonishing but losing race at the 1936 Olympics, Louie was hoping for gold in the 1940 games. But war ended those dreams forever. In May 1943 his B-24 crashed into the Pacific. After a record-breaking 47 days adrift on a shark-encircled life raft with his pal and pilot, Russell Allen "Phil" Phillips, they were captured by the Japanese. In the "theater of cruelty" that was the Japanese POW camp network, Louie landed in the cruelest theaters of all: Omori and Naoetsu, under the control of Corp. Mutsuhiro Watanabe, a pathologically brutal sadist (called the Bird by camp inmates) who never killed his victims outright-his pleasure came from their slow, unending torment. After one beating, as Watanabe left Louie's cell, Louie saw on his face a "soft languor.... It was an expression of sexual rapture." And Louie, with his defiant and unbreakable spirit, was Watanabe's victim of choice. By war's end, Louie was near death. When Naoetsu was liberated in mid-August 1945, a depleted Louie's only thought was "I'm free! I'm free! I'm free!" But as Hillenbrand shows, Louie was not yet free. Even as, returning stateside, he impulsively married the beautiful Cynthia Applewhite and tried to build a life, Louie remained in the Bird's clutches, haunted in his dreams, drinking to forget, and obsessed with vengeance. In one of several sections where Hillenbrand steps back for a larger view, she writes movingly of the thousands of postwar Pacific PTSD sufferers. With no help for their as yet unrecognized illness, Hillenbrand says, "there was no one right way to peace; each man had to find his own path...." The book's final section is the story of how, with Cynthia's help, Louie found his path. It is impossible to condense the rich, granular detail of Hillenbrand's narrative of the atrocities committed (one man was exhibited naked in a Tokyo zoo for the Japanese to "gawk at his filthy, sore-encrusted body") against American POWs in Japan, and the courage of Louie and his fellow POWs, who made attempts on Watanabe's life, committed sabotage, and risked their own lives to save others. Hillenbrand's triumph is that in telling Louie's story (he's now in his 90s), 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. (Nov.) -Reviewed by Sarah F. Gold (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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