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



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.(Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)


When he found out the movie was coming out over Christmas, my boyfriend demanded I read “Unbroken” as he had already started listening to it and loved it.  My family has a tradition of seeing a movie during Christmas break so I agreed, but I was apprehensive this was “just another war story”.  This book was So. Much. More.  Since I haven’t gotten around to reading “Seabiscuit” yet, I didn’t know quite yet the magic that Hillebrand has when writing.

“Unbroken” is mesmerizing and sucks you into the story.  It showed a part of World War that I believe often gets glossed over.  I particularly enjoyed how Hillebrand was able to weave history into the narrative story so the reader is able to see the big picture as well.  I would highly recommend reading this book for the almost impossible story and learning more about the Pacific Theater.

Warning:  Contains repeated violence

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Everyone