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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand Review

Title: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

Author: Laura Hillenbrand

First published November 16, 2010

475 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9781400064168 (ISBN10: 1400064163)

Rating: 4.37


In the midst of World War II, a young lieutenant’s life was forever changed when his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean. But this was only the beginning of Louis Zamperini’s incredible journey of survival, resilience, and redemption.

Overcoming a troubled past as a delinquent and channeling his defiance into running, Zamperini became an accomplished athlete before joining the war effort. After his plane went down, he faced thousands of miles of open ocean, starvation, enemy aircraft, and more.

But through it all, he refused to give up. Unbroken is a story of one man’s unyielding will to survive against all odds, and a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

About the Author

Laura Hillenbrand, an American author born in 1967, is best known for her book Seabiscuit: An American Legend. This non-fiction masterpiece tells the story of the great racehorse Seabiscuit and earned Hillenbrand the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award in 2001.

The book was later adapted into a movie in 2003. Hillenbrand’s essays can be found in various publications, including The New Yorker, Equus magazine, American Heritage, The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Backstretch, Turf and Sport Digest.

Her American Heritage article about Seabiscuit won the coveted Eclipse Award for Magazine Writing in 1998.

Although Hillenbrand was born in Fairfax, Virginia, she left Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio before completing her studies. This was due to her contracting chronic fatigue syndrome, which she has battled with ever since.

Today, she resides in Washington, D.C.

Editoral Review

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, written by Laura Hillenbrand, is a non-fiction book that tells the incredible story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner, who became a prisoner of war during World War II. Hillenbrand, known for her thorough research and masterful storytelling, weaves together a tale of survival, resilience, and redemption that will leave readers in awe.

The book starts by introducing Zamperini as a young boy, living in Torrance, California. Hillenbrand describes his early passion for running and how he eventually participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

However, after enlisting in the Army Air Forces during the war, Zamperini’s plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, leaving him stranded on a raft for weeks. He was eventually captured by the Japanese and sent to a brutal prisoner of war camp, where he faced unimaginable cruelty.

Throughout the book, Hillenbrand offers a detailed account of Zamperini’s experiences, highlighting his physical and emotional struggles. The narrative is interspersed with historical background and contextual information, giving readers a broader understanding of the war and its impact on individuals and societies.

One of the book’s strengths is Hillenbrand’s ability to bring Zamperini to life. She explores his personality, relationships, and motivations, making him a relatable and compelling protagonist.

The book also presents a nuanced depiction of the war, acknowledging the complexities of the conflict and avoiding simplistic narratives. However, the book’s pacing can feel slow at times, and some readers may find its length daunting.

Additionally, some of the secondary characters are not as well-developed as Zamperini, which can make their stories feel less engaging. Despite these minor flaws, Unbroken is a powerful and moving book that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

Its themes of endurance, perseverance, and forgiveness are timeless and offer valuable lessons for readers of all ages. Overall, I would highly recommend Unbroken to anyone interested in World War II history, survival stories, or inspiring memoirs.

Hillenbrand’s exquisite writing and Zamperini’s incredible journey make for an unforgettable reading experience. Therefore, I rate the book a 4.5 out of 5 based on its literary merit, research, themes, and readability.