By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Unbroken

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Why read it?

9 authors picked Unbroken as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The book is much more comprehensive than the film. For me this is an exemplary story of finding redemption and forgiveness after the worst of human imposed torture and misery. Like so many veterans, WWII veteran Louis Zamperini kills the war demon with alcohol. His relationship with his wife and family suffer until Billy Graham helps save him. One of the messages is that hatred will lead you down a self-destructive path. Overcoming your demons and finding forgiveness and redemption will set you free. I raced through this book.

I choose Unbroken because it is the best example I have read of a triumph over adversity story in terms of overcoming physical and emotional suffering. American soldier, Louis Zamperini, was captured by enemy soldiers when his plane went down in the Pacific Ocean. Overcoming the shark-infested waters by surviving on a raft, only to be eventually captured, Zamperini's chances for survival were slim. Surviving on his ingenuity, will, and refusal to lose hope, Zamperini’s triumph over adversity is a mesmerizing tale of persistence despite all odds.

Laura Hillenbrand spent years writing a non-fiction tale that is packed with well-sourced facts, anecdotes, and grainy photos for delivery to a click-and-get world where thoughts can’t exceed 280 characters and effective communication is measured by how fast we get to the point. But that’s okay, because the tale of Louie Zamperini is too compelling to rush. Zamperini is an optimist and a survivor. He is resourceful, the kind of man who bends without breaking. These traits reappear time and again throughout an incredible wartime obstacle course that would have killed a lesser man. If this book doesn’t inspire you,…

This book is so edge-of-your-seat exciting that you would swear it was a well-crafted work of fiction. It’s not. It’s the story of Louis Zamperini whose plane is shot down in World War II. He is left adrift by himself, with thousands of miles of treacherous ocean to cross, just to reach enemy territory and have a chance at survival. Even then he faces captivity and abuse. The only resources he has are the resources he has within himself. He emerges unbroken! Have you ever wondered what you might have inside yourself to face extreme crisis? I have! In…

There is little left to say about this award-winning book-turned-movie. The story is so riveting it is nearly a one-sitting read. By the time Olympic runner-turned B-24 bombardier Louis Zamperini was delivered to a prison camp, he had already endured a horrific forty-seven days in a life raft with his best friend. Their stint of starvation was followed by a longer stint of more starvation and unfathomably cruel treatment. I married a marathoner and raised four champion distance runners. Our meal conversations about this story dwelled heavily on the lost potential. Due to an injury during captivity, Zamp was never…

From Nishi's list on Twentieth Century POWs.

This nonfiction book is truly a story of survival and the human spirit being tested to the limit. Take a journey with Louis Zamperini to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin as a runner and then on to World War II as a bombardier. Relive his plane crash into the Pacific Ocean in 1943, being lost at sea, and his unbelievable time as a Japanese prisoner of war. Zamperini’s story is also one of post-war struggle and eventually faith. This book was a recommendation from my father and is easily one of the best books I have ever read!

From Laci's list on to relive history.

Being a best seller, most people know about or have already read this one. But it will always remain one of my favorites. Louis Zamparini has such an inspiring and interesting story that started with his trip to the Olympics in 1930’s Berlin, with Jesse Owens as his roommate, and ends with his post-war life (my favorite stories to read) at home after his harrowing time in the Pacific during WWII. Louis was a B-24 pilot that spent a record 47 days floating in the Pacific after his plane crashes into the ocean, and instead of being rescued, they were…

Just the story of how Louis Zamperini, a troubled youth from a humble background, became an Olympic runner would have been enough for a remarkable life. But when WWII broke out, Zamperini enlisted in the Air Force and went on to survive an incredible series of harrowing experiences, any one of which would have destroyed a weaker man—survival of a plane crash, a month adrift in an ocean full of sharks, and years of unbelievable brutality in Japanese POW camps. Zamperini’s indomitable spirit prevailed after the war as well when he overcame the darkness into which he slipped and was…

From Vladimir's list on grit transforms people’s lives.

We’ve become accustomed to think of Americans as the bad guys in the Pacific War, because of the Japanese American internment camps and the atomic bombs. But Hillenbrand’s brilliantly accessible book finally allowed us to recall the unimaginable cruelties inflicted on Allied POWs by the Japanese Imperial Army. Compared to their counterparts imprisoned by the Germans, Allied survivors of Japanese POW camps experienced a much higher rate of alcoholism, early death, and even suicide post-war. Louis Zamperini’s story exhibits this quite painfully.

From Kathryn's list on Pacific Theater of World War II.

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