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Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive Hardcover – November 11, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 404 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Adapted from the best-selling adult book of the same name, this riveting account tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a thief turned track star, Olympian, airman, castaway, and prisoner of war. Born to Italian immigrants in 1917, Zamperini was heading down a path of crime (stealing, fighting) until his older brother Pete stepped in, encouraging him to join the track team. It wasn't long before Zamperini was winning every race, eventually going on to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The book details how the 1940 Olympics were canceled due to World War II and describes how Zamperini was drafted into the U.S. Air Force. Writing in a gripping, intense tone, Hillenbrand relates how tragedy struck when Zamperini's plane was shot down and he and two other men spent 47 days in a life boat in the Pacific Ocean, fighting sharks, starvation, and dehydration, before being captured by the Japanese navy as prisoners of war. More than 100 engaging photographs appear throughout. This captivating book emphasizes the importance of determination, the will to survive against impossible odds, and support from family and friends. This adaptation softens some of the harsh details of POW life found in the adult version and has shortened the book by about a third. Though this is a strong, well-written work, the adult version is accessible and engaging; students are better off sticking with the original.—Stephanie Farnlacher, Trace Crossings Elementary School, Hoover, AL

Review

“This adaptation of Hillenbrand’s adult best-seller is highly dramatic and exciting, as well as painful to read as it lays bare man’s hellish inhumanity to man.”—Booklist, STARRED

"This captivating book emphasizes the importance of determination, the will to survive against impossible odds, and support from family and friends. A strong, well-written work."—SLJ

"This fine adaptation ably brings an inspiring tale to young readers."—Kirkus

"A humdinger of a page-turner: a noble story about the courage of America's Greatest Generation, personified."—The Horn Book Review
 
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; Reprint edition (November 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385742517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385742511
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (404 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My ten-year-old reads well above grade level, but is still reluctant. Like many boys, he just doesn't want to sit still long enough to get through a story! He likes adventure stories, so I thought he would enjoy listening to the audio version of "Unbroken," while following along in the book. No dice. I lost him at the word "dirigible."

So I was delighted to learn that a young adult version was on the horizon, and I immediately pre-ordered both the Kindle and audio versions. I am pleased to report that I think this will do the trick.

Of course, the first thing I did upon receiving the new version, was to turn to Chapter One to see if the word "dirigible" had been changed! It is now "airship." Then I went back to the beginning and did a side-by-side comparison of both. The changes were immediately apparent:
On the first page, the previous version read: Somewhere on the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Army Air Forces bombardier and Olympic runner Louie Zamperini lay across a small raft, drifting westward.
The new version read: Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean, American military airman and Olympic runner Louie Zamperini lay on a small raft, drifting.
In a nutshell, Hillenbrand deleted "the endless expanse of," and simplified Zamperini's title from "Army Air Forces bombardier," to "American military airman."

Looking randomly through the two books, I'm seeing other instances of abridgement, as well as simplified language. I have high hopes that my young reader will now enjoy this story. I'm excited at the prospect, as I think our children need to read more stories about people like Mr. Zamperini.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Although I am only 12, I read way above my reading level. I read the original book and it was stunning. It showed the cruelty of war and what war does to people. I loves the first book so much that I decided to read this version. This version is obviously meant for a younger audience, but it still displays the effects of war (although not as much in depth). I would recommend this book specifically to younger audiences because if you are an adult you should read the more complex version as it is more deep. Great read and I can't wait for the movie which is coming out on Christmas eve.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a middle school librarian, I wanted to share this unbelievable, inspirational tale, but the more graphic & violent scenes in the adult version were disturbing and overwhelming.

Laura Hillenbrand has taken out some of those more graphically violent parts of her adult version, but still communicated the depravity and inhumane treatment of Allied POW's by the Japanese. Unlike the Nazis, the Japanese were never brought to trial for crimes against humanity, and continue to teach revisionist history to the generations since.
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Format: Hardcover
UNBROKEN: AN OLYMPIAN’S JOURNEY FROM AIRMAN TO CASTAWAY TO CAPTIVE by Laura Hillenbrand is part of trend toward young adult adaptations of popular adult works. Based on the award-winning novel, UNBROKEN: A WORLD WAR II STORY OF SURVIVAL, RESILIENCE, AND REDEMPTION, the book traces the real-world experiences of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who becomes a prisoner of war in Japan during World War II.

Both the original nonfiction narrative and the adaptation chronicle Zamperini’s life by highlighting key events including his time as a high school runner, Olympian, bombardier, crash survivor, and prisoner. The use of a series of short, focused narratives keeps the reader engaged. More than one hundred photographs from the time period along with personal photos from the Zamperini family collection immerse readers in the story.

Although the adaptation lacks some of the depth of the original, it maintains the emotion of this breathtaking odyssey. While some of the beauty of Hillenbrand’s writing style is lost in the book’s attempt at brevity, the feelings of desperation, suffering, and hope still ring true. Background information woven through narrative help young readers understanding the context of story.

While many high school history teachers focus on the European Theatre, this book provides a wonderful opportunity for educators to explore the war in the Pacific Theatre. Consider offering both the adult version and the adaptation as options for student readers.

Teens enjoy making connections between books and movies. The movie version of the book titled UNBROKEN rated PG-13 opens December 25, 2014. To learn more about the movie, go to http://www.unbrokenfilm.com/. The movie website encourages visitors to add their own stories of resilient heroes.
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Format: Kindle Edition
One of the best books I have ever read. Half way through the book I was so impressed with the writings that I could hardly put the book down. Being a former USAF airman myself (Korea) I heard many WWII stories. None even came close to this story.
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Format: Hardcover
Thrilled about this book! My 11-year-old son, who is a reluctant reader, could not put it down and finished it in about four school days. I love discussing it with him.
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