Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, 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.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.


A war hero's bond with his biographer
A war hero's Unbroken bond with his biographer
Author Laura Hillenbrand spent seven years researching and writing her bestselling book Unbroken, a portrait of Olympic track star, World War II hero, and Christian role model Louis Zamperini. “CBS News” Chip Reid reports.

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Seabiscuit Author's New Hero Unbroken By War
Hillenbrand tells NPR's Scott Simon that when Zamperini was a kid in Torrance, Calif., he was known for his unbridled energy. That verve would one day make him an Olympic athlete; at the time, it simply made him spirited to the point of delinquency.

"He was the Artful Dodger of his hometown from a very early age," Hillenbrand says. "He was a serial runaway; he was a brawler; he was a prankster."

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Unbroken movie trailer
Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the life of an Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini.