Unbroken Hardcover – 20 Jan 2011
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‘The pages almost turn themselves. His tale is remarkable and his resilience inspiring.’ Ben Macintyre
‘An instant classic’ Mail on Sunday
‘One of the most remarkable survival tales ever recorded. Do yourself a favour and by the book’ Vanity Fair
‘”Unbroken” is an extraordinarily compelling read, a match for any thriller…a remarkable book.’ Evening Standard
‘More gripping than fiction’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Staggering … mesmerising … Hillenbrand’s writing is so ferociously cinematic, the events she describes so incredible, you don’t dare take your eyes off the page’ People
About the Author
Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the number one bestsellers Unbroken and Seabiscuit, which won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The film it inspired was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. She served as a consultant on the Universal Pictures feature film based on Unbroken. 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 co-founded Operation International Children, a charity that provided school supplies to children through American troops. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 ›
Louis Zamperini was a soldier who found himself back in 1943 in an Army Air Forces bomber that crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Beside two colleagues he was the only survivor of this accident, and although what he went through was hard, the hardest thing was there waiting in front of him.
His youth was not ideal, it cannot be said that he was an example with his behavior, which often exceeded the boundaries and even came to the edge of the law - he stole, broke into the houses, brawled and escaped from his hometown in order to ride with train. However, in some ways it helped him to find out that he was extremely talented in sports, especially running which enabled him to quickly progresses and finally comes to what every athlete is considering the highest honor - representing his country in the Olympics, in his case one that took place in Berlin 1936.
And when the Second World War started, Louis like many other young men across America and around the world replaced his freedom with the military life in the struggle against the Axis powers. Survival in the ocean today with top-quality equipment would be a challenge, and we can only imagine how Louis felt in the ocean, far away from anything, almost without hope, hungry and thirsty, exhausted and surrounded by sharks to which he was supposed to become food.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best book I've read in years, beautifully written and painfully honest. To truly understand what Louis and these men endure is virtually impossible. Read morePublished 3 days ago by steph
Fascinating true story of an amazing man! But at times lost its momentum detailing other stories that were not necessary to the plot. Read morePublished 4 days ago by RIPaul
Tragic yet demonstrating the resilience of a remarkable man.
Most striking and shaming is the the inhumanity of man.
Let's hope we never repeat it. Read more
Recommended to me by my adult son. A gripping biographical story mainly set against the backdrop of the war against Japan and its aftermath on those who survived the conflict. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book contains the life story of Louis Zamperini from vagabond child and trouble maker to Olympic runner to second world war airman and prisoner of war. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gary B