A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
By Laura Hillenbrand
(Random House, Hardcover, 9781400064168, 473pp.)
Publication Date: November 16, 2010
List Price: $28.00*
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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. 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.
Praise for "Unbroken"
"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
""Unbroken" is too much book to hope for: a hellride of a story in the grip of the one writer who can handle it."--Christopher McDougall, author of "Born to Run.
"From the Hardcover edition."
- Louie’s experiences are singular: None of us is going to be in a plane crash, strafed by a bomber, attacked by sharks, cast away on a raft, or held as a POW. And yet the word most often used to describe him is “inspiring.” What does Louie’s experience demonstrate that makes him so inspirational to people who will never endure what he did? What are the lessons that his life offers to all of us?