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Unbroken [Hardcover]

Laura Hillenbrand
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 16.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Jan 2011

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man’s journey into extremity.

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 channelled 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 humour; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

The long-awaited new book from Laura Hillenbrand Unbroken is a gripping account of human endurance and the resilience of one remarkable individual.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition edition (20 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007378017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007378012
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘Hillenbrand has once again brought to life the true story of a forgotten hero, and reminded us how lucky we are to have her, 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

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

About the Author

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the number-one bestseller Seabiscuit, which won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The film 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.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class read. 26 Jan 2011
By Arheddis Varkenjaab TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a fantastic book, one of the most entertaining I've read in years. It's a biography of Louis Zamperini who, judging by the number of schools and airports named after him in the US, is a rather famous individual.

Most British readers, myself included, will not have heard of him. Don't let that put you off though, as Zamperini is one of those individuals who has led both a charmed, lucky, and fascinating life.

We start with his youth, where despite the book making light of his mischief, he was a thug and a thief, destined for a life of dodging the police and jail. He is saved by discovering he has a talent for running. Inspired by his slightly more cunning brother (who is just as much a tearaway as Louis but has the charm to get away with it) he finds himself at the Berlin olympics, running in front of Hitler. His natural talent has him on the verge of a four-minute mile and he appears certain for gold at the 1940 games. Instead, Louis finds himself over the Pacific, manning the bombsight of a B24 bomber, and ultimately fighting for survival in a canvas raft in the middle of the ocean.

And this is just the start of his adventures! Louis Zamperini, as well as being talented, lucky, and brave, is revealed to be pretty much indestructible. I won't summarise any more of the story, as it would spoil it, but this is a great book. A real page turner, written with a wonderfully engaging style that will keep you awake to find out what happens next.

Absolutely first class, highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By J. Aitken VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Half way through Laura Hillenbrand's meticulously researched account of Louie Zamperini's war time experiences, I thought that the truth was so painful to read and almost impossible to credit that I could hardly believe that one man could endure the terrible deprivations forced him by the elements and subsequently by the awful cruelties endemic in being a Japanese Prisoner of War.That Louie Zamperini did was due to his indomitable spirit, his steely resolve and to what some might call pure luck.

This is one of the finest and most moving of wartime tales and Laura Hillenbrand recounts it with honesty and diligence. Readers will be amazed by Zamperini's ingenuity in adversity and his ability to survive against almost insurmountable odds. Hillenbrand does not shirk in her descriptions and is also most telling in her depiction of what is now called PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) The war may have ended for these men, but for some, the terrors of what they had endured never left them.

This was an engrossing read and I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in the second world war and its terrible human cost.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting story - glorious ending 21 Feb 2011
By Mark Loughridge VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Stunning. That sums this book up in a word.

I had read a brief summary of Louis Zamperini's life in Don Stephens' excellent book War and Grace and was fascinated to see a much longer version. I wasn't disappointed.

Some authors struggle when they are faced with a welter of facts, details, interviews - they either smother you with them, thus losing the storyline, or they ignore them, thus depriving the story of colour, depth and character. Laura Hillenbrand has mastered her homework without it mastering her. She strikes a perfect balance, and delivers an engrossing, engaging read.

From Zamperini's early days as a tearaway, to his success as an athlete, through his American Air Force career, to the POW camps in Japan, to his return from the 'grave', to his even more amazing transformation by God's grace - all is superbly told. It is hard to find a point at which to put the book down.

The story captures the horror of air combat, the sickening losses even before combat, the sheer awfulness of the POW camps and the trauma the men faced on returning to 'normal' life. The characters are very real, their fear, courage, humanity, anger, bitterness are all displayed, rather than hyped up or hidden away. One of the aspects I liked was the balance in which the Japanese camp officials were portrayed - some brutal and sadistic, but some deeply courageous and humane. It would have been easy to create a one sided impression.

But for me the absolute highlight is found in the closing chapters. I dont think a review would be complete without mentioning them - But STOP HERE if you dont want to know the ending!
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing and totally gripping read. 1 Feb 2011
By Caroline P. VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I admit I approached this book with a certain amount of trepidation. I wondered how you could write a book about someone spending weeks on a raft and yet keep it interesting? It turns out that there is so much more to Louie Zamperini's story than that, although I don't want to give too much away.

This is a man I suspect very few Brits will have heard of. And yet his story is utterly astonishing and completely riveting. This was a very hard book to put down and I read it very quickly.

I love the way the author has told this story. No lantern-jawed heroes, fearing nothing, in these pages. Rather, very genuine and very honest, flesh-and-blood people - scared to death at times, traumatised by what has happened to them. The real deal. People like you and me who yet find within themselves a courage to endure that is so astounding, so amazing that you are left in awe. Which is how it should be. Still, I think she did take a certain lick of gloss to Louie's youth and I was left a little curious, suspecting more 'behind the scenes'. But that is a very, very small point and this is someone who earned redemption. This was, ultimately, a man unbroken by what happened to him - but who came, many times, very very close to being destroyed by it.

Ms Hillenbrand is an excellent author and this is a brilliant tale. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I'll certainly be looking out for other books she has written. You won't regret buying this book, I'm certain
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
great story very inspirational the film should be good when it comes out
Published 8 hours ago by sarah
4.0 out of 5 stars Lest we forget the sacrifice of ordinary but extraordinary men.
A humbling read. The tenacity and resilience of these men is truly inspiring.An emotional journey.
Published 2 days ago by noah
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away by this incredible book
Amazing story about an amazing group of people, through the eyes of one, Louie Zamperini. I was shamefully ignorant of the War in the Pacific and what it entailed. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mrs
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot use enough hyperbole
Quite frankly, this is an incredible story of an incredible life. Louis Zamperini was a true hero - particularly because he didn't think he was one. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Mr D R James
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book. I loved it!
Published 8 days ago by Gareth Leather
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just started this book liking it so far
Published 9 days ago by J Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent
Published 12 days ago by ivan
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd ahve enjoyed it more if it wasn't for
Interesting, but didn't live up to the book title. I'd ahve enjoyed it more if it wasn't for that
Published 13 days ago by L. J. McQuillin
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, inspiring, thought provoking
I read infrequently but this book gripped me throughout. During a see-saw of emotion and trust, love and humanity conquer, despite enduring unimaginable pain and suffering. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Rachel Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
What an amazing, inspiring true story about one man's fight for survival. Quite incredible how much the human spirit can endure. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Faye Almond
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