Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.89 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Paperback – July 29, 2014
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“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. . . . When it comes to courage, charisma, and impossible adventure, few will ever match ‘the boy terror of Torrance,’ and few but the author of Seabiscuit could tell his tale with such humanity and dexterity. Hillenbrand has given us a new national treasure.”—Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run
“Riveting . . . an exceptional portrait . . . So haunting and so beautifully written, those who fall under its spell will never again feel the same way about World War II and one of its previously unsung heroes.”—The Columbus Dispatch
“Magnificent . . . incredible . . . [Hillenbrand] has crafted another masterful blend of sports, history and overcoming terrific odds; this is biography taken to the nth degree, a chronicle of a remarkable life lived through extraordinary times.”—The Dallas Morning News
“No other author of narrative nonfiction chooses her subjects with greater discrimination or renders them with more discipline and commitment. If storytelling were an Olympic event, [Hillenbrand would] medal for sure.”—Salon
“A celebration of gargantuan fortitude . . . full of unforgettable characters, multi-hanky moments and wild turns . . . Hillenbrand is a muscular, dynamic storyteller.”—The New York Times
“[A] masterfully told true story . . . nothing less than a marvel.”—Washingtonian
“Zamperini’s story is certainly one of the most remarkable survival tales ever recorded. What happened after that is equally remarkable.”—Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair
“Irresistible . . . Hillenbrand demonstrates a dazzling ability—one Seabiscuit only hinted at—to make the tale leap off the page.”—Elle
“A tale of triumph and redemption . . . astonishingly detailed.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Intense . . . You better hold onto the reins.”—The Boston Globe
“Incredible . . . Zamperini’s life is one of courage, heroism, humility and unflagging endurance.”—St. Louis Post Dispatch
“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
About the Author
Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, won the Book Sense Book of the Year Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, landed on more than fifteen best-of-the-year lists, and inspired the film Seabiscuit, which 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, the highest journalistic honor in Thoroughbred racing. 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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In too many instances, I would deem Unbroken to be "unbelievable." I know the author has done extensive research, but no matter the research, the narrative and the history do provide room for personal coloring. And this, in my opinion, has led to some exaggeration and distortion -- shadows that darken the story with aspects of disbelief.
I'll give some examples:
1. There is no way an individual -- especially a frail, sick, malnourished, fever-ridden individual -- can absorb 220 successive hard blows to the head and not end up with severe brain damage, if not death.
2. Describing the same individual -- frail, totally malnourished, and now suffering from crippling dysentery -- holding a heavy six-foot beam directly over his head in the broiling sun for THIRTY-SEVEN MINUTES is ... simply "unbelievable."
3. The way the author describes the ordeal of the POWs -- 12-14 hours of non-stop hard labor, near-starvation food rations, constant physical beatings, unending dysentery -- one would expect the survivors to resemble concentration camp victims. But on page 310 of my hardcover edition, this is a photo of the POWs at war's end. And to match the physical appearance of these healthy-looking men with the description of POW camp conditions as portrayed in the book is an unbelievable stretch. (I'm not questioning the ordeal the POWs endured. But does the photo show this at all?)
I can cite many more examples, but anyone who has carefully read the book should get the picture.
I've heard that if a person, testifying in court, is caught being untruthful, all that person's testimony is disregarded. In the case of this book, examples like the above (and others) make me question the honesty of the entire narrative.
In no way should my review diminish the exploits of a great American hero. Just the opposite. Zamperini's feats were so extraordinary, they need neither exaggeration nor distortion to be powerfully presented.
Louie sounds as though he was a great man imbued with natural leadership instincts. Unfortunately, the author's unabashed, biased, praise of him wears down the story. Everyone else in the story takes a backseat to the glowing figure of Louie. It's the only consistency in the entire book, the idea that Louie had an aura about him, a halo even if you will.
From a historical perspective, the author didn't spend much time on historical fact, but rather came to her own conclusions. "It appears..." "It seems..." "Probably...." were all sentences that should never be used when stating fact. The author had her own ideas as to why things happened. For instance, the chapter, "The Stinking 6," six Japanese bombers fly over Funafuti and drop their sticks of bombs. Japan did not possess a heavy bomber, so these planes were more than likely the medium 'Betty' bomber. It did not have a high capacity payload. But the story makes it sound as if these six planes dropped tons and tons of bombs over the entire island, making the place just a giant bomber crater. 6 Japanese bombers would not have this capacity.
And it's something of an irony that the author brings up at the end of the book that Phil, aka Russell Allen Phillips, struggled with the attention Louie received and he was just the 'trivial footnote.' Yet, in the story, the author practically gives Phil the title of trivial footnote as almost every mention of Phil is overshadowed by what Louie did with him or for him. A perfect example is the whole ordeal in the raft. The author makes it seem that Phil would have died had Louie not been there to save him and keep him going. At no time was there ever any mention of Phil helping Louie. Yet, three men (and later just the two) cannot be sustained in a stressful situation for days lost at sea, on the sustenance and willpower of one man no matter how great he is. It takes teamwork, and I believe that even with mention in the story, the author still gives Phil the offhand role of victim, while Louie gets the role of hero.
The other problem I had with the story is the lack of flow. Two examples spring to mind. First, there is the instance leading up to Liberation. Louie is about to give up, he doesn't know how much more he can take. He can hardly stand. He can hardly work. He's exhausted. He's near death. He's got dysentary and beriberi. People are stealing food for him just to keep him alive. And then B-29's fly overhead and begin to drop food to the prisoners. Suddenly, no mention of Louie's poor health is noted. Instead, he's now at the forefront of directing and clearing dropzones for the B-29's to drop their carepackages.
And then there is the story of the Japanese having Louie broadcast his POW status on the radio, which is picked up in the U.S. The War department is made aware of it. People are excited, allegedly. A track meet in New York in honor of Louis is changed from "Memorial" to "Invitational" because of his change in status. But then when Louie is brought back to U.S. Airbases upon release and subsequent return to the U.S., we are told of Colonels falling out of their chairs, and other stories of shock at the sight of Louie because they thought he was dead. But elsewhere in the story upon his discovery in the POW camp we are told this was headline news. If it was such the sensational news story, as it was claimed, how did people not know of his discovery?
Also of note is the omission from the story of two equally, if not more famous characters of war that were in the same POW camps as Louie, Medal of Honor recipient Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, who gets a short mention in the story, and Medal of Honor recipient Richard O'Kane. The story references many times that Louie was kept off all Red Cross records of POW's, as if he was the only prisoner to be accorded such treatment. Boyington was kept off the record as well, and held in much higher esteem by his captives for being such a successful and flamboyant fighter pilot against them. Louie flew only one combat mission, according to the account, during the war. According to the story, this was highly publicized during the initial phase of the war. However, Boyington had 26 kills to his record and was famous for leading the equally famous Black Sheep Squadron. Louie was an Olympic runner. Boyington was a flamboyant war personality, famous both during and after the conflict. Obviously, this book was about Louie so the omission is forgivable, but the idea that Louie was held in much higher esteem by his captors and punished more than the other captives leaves me questioning the entire story.
Based on the other 1 star reviews, I know that by giving this story 1 star leads to the possibility of nasty comments and open disagreement. But as a disclaimer, if you liked the book, you are entitled to your five star review. This isn't a five star review, because in my opinion it wasn't a five star book. It had too many issues with it that left me scratching my head or in a state of disbelief.
Regardless of the book, Louie Zamperini has lived an amazing life and is a role model to everyone and his story should be shared... just not in such an embellished, off hand, scripted sort of way.
I do a lot of reading and I'm not a fiction reader, and Unbroken read more like fiction. Devil at My Heals reads more like non-fiction in an interesting way as was told/written first hand. Most of my reading is non-fiction, and being an entrepreneur I like rags to riches, failure to success type stories, and overcoming obstacles and surviving. The Devil at My Heels book has all of that, and the fun times of socializing with the young ladies, etc...certainly seemed much more real-life. This version of the book is what should be made into a movie, in my perspsective. Sometimes real life is more interesting.
If you want to read one book about Louie, I would recommend the Devil at My Heels book, if you want to read both, start with Devil at My Heels first and you may never need the second book.