A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Book - 2014
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Relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.
Publisher: New York : Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2014, c2010
Edition: Random House trade paperback ed
ISBN: 9780812974492
Branch Call Number: 940.5472 HIL
Characteristics: xviii, 500 p. :,ill., map, ports. ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

A track athlete at the 1936 Munich Olympics who became a war prisoner.

Fascinating true story you will cheer

Harrowing tale of survival against all odds (being shot down in the drink in WWII, prison camps, starvation) - directed by Angelina Jolie

From the critics

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Mar 17, 2018

Excellent biography about Zamperini, his early childhood and success as an Olympic athelete intertwined with the story of his Military service, internment by the Japanese and how his life was transformed. I especially like Hillenbrands attention to historical accuracy. Like the title says, a story of survival, resilience, and redemption - that these POWs persevered despite their treatment at the hands of the Japanese is a testament to the human spirit.

Jan 20, 2018

I’ve always liked historical fiction (particularly those focused around WWI and WWII), but I have not had luck in finding a good non-fiction/biography until now. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand felt as though I was there are knew Louis Zamperini myself. Had it not been a biography I would not have liked it as much because the things he went through seemed so unbelievable. I do not know much about World War II so I cannot say much from a technical viewpoint, but I enjoyed the book and loved how the author seamlessly added facts at just the right places - intensifying my emotions towards what was happening. By the middle of the book I was turning around, no matter where I was, every couple of seconds to tell the people around me about what was happening because it was so moving. As expected, it did slow down a bit at the end, but I refused to put it down until I read through everything and figured out what happened (even the author’s notes at the end which, to be honest, I usually just quickly skim through). I will definitely not forget anything about this book anytime soon.

Oct 24, 2017

I feel this book deserves a 4.5 star rating because of the imagery that the author uses through out the whole book. It really does seem like it was told from this person directly.

Oct 24, 2017

I read this book for English class as a project. I think this book is a great non-fiction book about the troubles of a veteran and a prisoner of war because it highlights the transformation of the main character, Louie Zamperini, in a unique way that differs from many other non-fiction books about war. I think the author, Laura Hillenbrand, thoroughly researched the accounts and diaries of many soldiers to produce such a masterpiece of a book. Therefore, I recommend this book to those that love books about war or post-war experiences.

Jul 18, 2017

A Truly, remarkable Story. Many stories amongst the main story. Transformation. Loving your enemies, under great duress, heart break, cruelty. Giving back to those, who, need someone to really care.

Apr 02, 2017

I would've given this 2 stars, but seeing that I usually don't like biographies, I've given it a 3.

I've seen videos and interviews of Zamperini following the book, and I can tell that Laura Hillenbrand must have done a ton of research on Louie Zamperini.

However, the characters I barely had any connection with. In the book, Louis Zamperini is very resilient and optimistic. I think I can definitely believe that, but sometimes, it felt too far-fetched. I had no way of relating to the protagonist, and the most impactful character for me was Mac, one of the crew members who survives the plane crash. He throws tantrums and gets depressed, but I found that his emotions were the most well-conveyed. In this period of time, I guess Louis was supposed to be some kind of hero, but I couldn't feel anything.

Hillenbrand makes Louie this hero who was helping everyone out, yet he becomes the opposite of that after the conflict, drinking with PTSD. I felt that this was the first time we actually witnessed Louie's emotions. Maybe he just had everything bottled up during the War, but he hadn't shown enough for readers to relate to him.

Overall, it is a decent book though and worth a try.

AL_ALICIA Feb 24, 2017

A quick, heart-wrenching read about life as POW in the Pacific theater. I was so excited to read this book and gain a better understanding of an often overlooked part of WWII history but I was ultimately disappointed. For something that was supposed to have such and uplifting message of resilience, I had difficulty with the narration and couldn't connect with the character. In the realm of WWII memoirs, this one is a little over-hyped in my opinion.

Nov 14, 2016

Nov 13 2016, almost 1/2 way through, and one of the best stories ever. It's absolutely amazing that Louis survived. I can hardly wait to finish so that I can watch the movie. This really was a good time to read this, with Remembrance Day falling in the middle of it. It put me in a good mind frame for the services, just thinking about how horrible war is and what those who serve our country are risking as they do their duty. I know I couldn't handle it, and am so grateful that I don't have to.......sure hope I never will!......Nov 16, I'm hoping he gets rescued soon, he's just soooooo close to death!

AL_SARAHD Oct 24, 2016

I have never read a book more quickly or with more intent fixation.
The story of Louie Zamperini is harrowing, heart breaking and inspiring. At times, you may even cry (I sure did) or cheer out loud.
I cannot recommend this book more.
It is a beautifully written narrative about a beautiful soul.

AL_CHRISTINES Oct 15, 2016

AMAZING!!! This true story reads like a tragic yet inspiring novel about resilience in the face of horror, the worst in people, and the best in people. This biography sweeps you away into Olympic glory and into the utter desolation of being a Prisoner of War. If you have seen the movie and not read the book, read the book, PLEASE!!!! This is an all time favorite. Not for the faint of heart, but truly spectacular!

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Apr 02, 2017

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Feb 17, 2017

Alanreviews thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 59

black_wolf_2329 Jun 09, 2015

black_wolf_2329 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Feb 18, 2012

lukeooo2 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 18, 2012

lukeooo2 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Algonquin_Lisa Mar 05, 2011

Algonquin_Lisa thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add Notices

Mar 23, 2012

Violence: some parts are grusome.

Algonquin_Lisa Mar 05, 2011

Violence: Main character's treatment in the internment camp was violent.


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Jul 03, 2015

“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. Louie thought: Let go.”

Jun 24, 2015

"I'm free! I'm free! I'm free!"


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Jun 24, 2015

Story of Louis Zamperini, started as an Olympian when WWII starts and Louis enlists in the Air Force.

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