4.5 star

Total 10,378 Ratings

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand Book Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, 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.
Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and the Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year award
“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
“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
“An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A tale of triumph and redemption . . . astonishingly detailed.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“[A] masterfully told true story . . . nothing less than a marvel.”—Washingtonian
“[Hillenbrand tells this] story with cool elegance but at a thrilling sprinter’s pace.”—Time
“Hillenbrand [is] 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

Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand) Book Reviews

UnbrokenGreat read.Score: 5/5

One of the bestAlmost without a doubt my favorite book. Far better than the unfortunately-lacking movie adaption, Unbroken is the almost too incredible to be true tale of an extraordinary man. Through just the right amount of detail and stunningly beautiful prose, I was swept up and my focus was unbroken throughout the satisfyingly long text. I cannot recommend this boon enough (especially if you saw the movie and want to read more)..Score: 5/5

GreatMore inspirational than my "Make America Great Again" speeches..Score: 5/5

Good Movie Better Book!One word, Redemption..Score: 5/5

The title explains the entire story in just one word.One of the best page turners I have ever read..Score: 5/5

Great story well toldRecommended.Score: 5/5

Captivating!Absolutely the best book I have ever opened!!.Score: 5/5

AmazingI was honestly obsessed with the this book for at least a year. I read it twice and I could never put it down. This author captures his life in great detail. Definitely read it!!!!!!!!!.Score: 5/5

Oh WOWMy brother had this book for a while. Then we were watching Shark Week and they had a special in Luis Zamperini. My stinger then wanted to read it but never picked it up. I took it from her and read it... I WAS SPELLBOUND. I couldn’t put it down. His life amazed me. How he could go through all that pain and torture. Sooo inspiring! If you are not sure about this book I would think again. When I finished it I loved it even more! One of my favorite books ever. READ IT. P.S.- the movie is ok but, like You know, Hollywood mixed Ofuna and Omari together! The book is way way better!.Score: 5/5

Favorite book yetIncredible story.Score: 5/5

Great readGreat book. Highly recommend..Score: 5/5

LOVED ITThis is by far the best book I've ever read. It's great to see so much detail in a book about Louie's life. This Book took all of my emotions and put it in to describe the love and adventure of his life. Just great!.Score: 5/5

Outstanding!!!Truly a masterpiece and a critical document to preserve a difficult part of 20th century history. Louie Zamperini is a thoroughly inspiring character from an era of inspiring characters. Thank you Laura Hillenbrand for the years of your life you devoted to this book..Score: 5/5

AMAZINGSuch an amazing and touching story!.Score: 5/5

Great book!Really puts it in perspective..Score: 5/5

Must readI remember learning about U.S. Soldiers being in Japanese war camps, but the way it was described in the book was quite vivid. I commend those soldiers who let go of their hatred of the their Japanese captors..Score: 5/5

Very interesting readThis book is amazing! Well written and I couldn't put the book down! I'm usually not into this type of book but I love this book and going to purchase her first book. Already bought the movie!! Just waiting to watch it!!!.Score: 5/5

Great bookFantastic book to read. Amazing to see just how cruel the Japanese were to the POW's..Score: 5/5

Whoa!I recently saw the movie and was stunned! The book is almost better though, detail wise. Amazing! Amazing job Laura!.Score: 5/5

Engulfing story of a brave soldierThis is a must read for anyone interested in the personal stories of the soldiers and sailors of WWII. Even if you have seen the movie, the writer captures much more of the essence of the man and the story..Score: 5/5

I don't get itSurely this man had a fascinating life, but this book is just all over the place. It's exhausting and feels like a never ending run on sentence. This happened and then this and this oh and maybe this but also this and then this. So many accolades, and while the content of his story itself is interesting, the writing is not well done and wore me out..Score: 2/5

This was very goodThe only reason for the 4 stars is that it was somewhat like trying to drink from a fire hose. The information kept coming and coming without a break and sometimes repeated. It was an amazing story though and I can't even imagine living through it. This should be required reading for all high school kids who think war is all glory..Score: 4/5


CoolThis was a nice book 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 I’d like to watch the movie soon of this video!.Score: 4/5

Amazing storyThe story of Louie Zamperini is amazing and this book tells it in a well written and emotional way, I'm glad I bought and read it..Score: 5/5

BrilliantThe pages turn themselves..Score: 5/5

InspiringThis should be required reading for all American citizens so that they may appreciate what so few have sacrificed for so many..Score: 5/5

Unbroken Is The BEST!!!!Unbroken is a great book and I enjoyed it a lot. My favorite section of the book was when they where stranded on the raft and the Japanese bomber swept over them in a hail of bullets. Overall this book is a thrilling adventure and it maybe me not want to put it down.😀😀😀.Score: 5/5

Absolutely AmazingNever watched the movie but I hear it only covered a third of the book. This story was always a pleasure to read and made me laugh, smile, and cried. This book had everything from an Olympic hero to a war story, to being lost at sea, in a POW camp, and a life destroyed by alcoholism. If you need something that will make you feel emotions, this book is definitely it. Maybe one of the best books I have ever read and it makes it better that it’s all true..Score: 5/5

BestThis book is such a great book. It shows how Louie never gave up. You must read it. There is though a lot of violence, but the message is so great..Score: 5/5

UnbrokenThis book was truly inspiring. I couldn't put it down. The book put me on an emotional roller coaster. At one moment I was smiling, then I was crying..Score: 5/5

UnbrokenAdmirable. Excellent research work. Congratulations to Laura. Hope she recovers well soon. Santiago Jervis..Score: 5/5

Captivating!The classic page-turner! You lose yourself in this story. Laura H is a great story teller..Score: 5/5

UnbrokenRiveting, eye opening to actual events that went on during the war.Score: 5/5

Such a powerful storyAlthough hard at times to read what these men had to go through, I am so enamored by Laura’s telling of Louis’ story..Score: 5/5

UnbrokenAmazing book amazing story amazing writing Lura hilibard gives amazing contest and information for the events surrounding her main events. The book is filled Hoth amazing stories fascinating facts history descriptions and explanations. I loved it. I am in 8th grade and was fully engaged by it I recommend it for all ages after 12..Score: 5/5

UnbrokenThe best biography book I've ever read, no doubt about it!!!!.Score: 5/5

UnbrokenBeautifully written by Laura My fav part is when he runs faster than any other Olympians.Score: 5/5

UNBROKENI love this book I can't stop thinking about it in this book (which I HIGHLY recommend) Olympic runner WWII veteran and prisioner of war Louis Zamperini or better known as "Zamp" talks about his life story spending 47 days on a raft with sharks encircling him daily during this, survival chances are becoming slim for him and his crew mates but after this they are put into a Japanese POW camp and soon tortured nearly to death in this book Ithat I find I can nearly feel the characters pain and R.I.P Zamp. 👍.Score: 4/5

EnlighteningMy father served as part of the occupation troops in Japan and a clerk during the first year of the war trials. He interviewed POWs about their experience. He only talked to me once about that experience. Reading this book I think I finally understand what he was trying to tell me all those years ago. Wonderfully written, Unbroken should be required reading for anyone who wants to truly understand the horror of war..Score: 5/5

Might be the Best book everI have seen the movie but not the book but from the looks of this book it may be the best book ever.Score: 5/5

Best book everThis book simply is just too good..Score: 5/5

ExcellentFound the book hard to put down and wanting to continue. Great insight into the lives of a generation of people we will always be in admiration! Thank you!.Score: 5/5

WowIncredibly captivating from beginning to end..Score: 5/5

Inspiring!Such a great book based on the life of an individual who saw humanity at its darkest and was able to become a beacon of light. Highly recommend!.Score: 5/5

An amazing readThis is without a doubt one of my favorite books. I'm so glad I read this before the movie came out. It's an addictive and easy read. I recommend it to everyone..Score: 5/5

Gut Wrenching And TragicAn absolutely gut wrenching read that makes this story very very awe inspiring. Hard to finish, and hard to read, but well worth the read and attention..Score: 4/5

UnbrokenThe book was riveting and extremely well written. The story is amazing it is hard to believe that it was a true story. Great read..Score: 5/5

Unbroken is UnforgettableA book I will not soon forget..Score: 5/5

Jaw droppingI’m late to this book, as it was published years ago, and the reason I didn’t pick it up then was I don’t particularly enjoy military history or stories about the cruelties of war. However I was recently looking for a book about resilience during difficult times... and WOW, this upended my perspective on both suffering and the human spirit. I doubt I will ever view pain or disappointment in my own life in the same way after reading what Louie and his fellow soldiers endured. As it’s been said many times, and more eloquently than I, this book is truly inspirational. Read it, you won’t regret it..Score: 5/5

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RivetingOne of the best narratives I have ever read. In this tale of life, struggles and oppression, the author captures the essence of feeling like no other book I have ever read..Score: 5/5

Truly remarkable.Inspiring story that has many life lessons to teach us. It should be mandatory reading. A great book about amazing people!.Score: 5/5

AmazingSuch an amazing book. I have no words for how this book has affected me. Louie Zamperini is an inspiration!.Score: 5/5

UnbrokenThis was a fantastic book to read. You really got the feel of what Louie and his fellow POW'S went through. How they lived through it all is incredible!.Score: 5/5

Where is the sample ??please.Score: 3/5

Should be compulsory reading in high school!An amazing story which provides an accurate and first-hand account of WW2 and its attrocities. The best 'history lesson' I've ever had..Score: 5/5

We have no clue!Incredible true story of the rarely referenced Japanese narrative of the Second World War. Almost all modern day recollections focus on Germany, for the obvious reasons, but this book sheds light on the almost unbelievable horrors endured by the allies fighting realistically two wars at once. If anyone wants to feel truly humbled, and absorb what these men endured for us, please read this book. I finally understand what "fought for our freedom" really means. It took this book to make me understand..Score: 4/5

What a story!!!I guess we all read biographies in order to gain some insights into human nature, but Hillenbrand's insights are incredible. "Unbroken" is a powerful glimpse into the best and the worst of our species. The effort she put into writing this account is obvious from page 1. I am still in awe that an author could piece together another person's life's story so brilliantly..Score: 5/5

AmazingGreat book amazing story.Score: 5/5

UnbrokenThis is such an amazing book I hope everyone gets a chance to read it!! The movie is incredible too.Score: 5/5

Great bookWow. This book was a true eye opener to our past and what was endured to ensure our future. Thank you to all the men and women who made that possible. A must read for all!.Score: 5/5

UnbrokenAmazing story about survival and the vast limits of the human spirit. A real page turner that opens your eyes to the lesser known atrocities of the WWII in the pacific and the heroes that fought their..Score: 4/5

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