Military history

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

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.


Part I

Chapter 1: The One-Boy Insurgency

Chapter 2: Run Like Mad

Chapter 3: The Torrance Tornado

Chapter 4: Plundering Germany

Chapter 5: Into War

Part II

Chapter 6: The Flying Coffin

Chapter 7: “This Is It, Boys”

Chapter 8: “Only the Laundry Knew How Scared I Was”

Chapter 9: Five Hundred and Ninety-four Holes

Chapter 10: The Stinking Six

Chapter 11: “Nobody’s Going to Live Through This”

Part III

Chapter 12: Downed

Chapter 13: Missing at Sea

Chapter 14: Thirst

Chapter 15: Sharks and Bullets

Chapter 16: Singing in the Clouds

Chapter 17: Typhoon

Part IV

Chapter 18: A Dead Body Breathing

Chapter 19: Two Hundred Silent Men

Chapter 20: Farting for Hirohito

Chapter 21: Belief

Chapter 22: Plots Afoot

Chapter 23: Monster

Chapter 24: Hunted

Chapter 25: B-29

Chapter 26: Madness

Chapter 27: Falling Down

Chapter 28: Enslaved

Chapter 29: Two Hundred and Twenty Punches

Chapter 30: The Boiling City

Chapter 31: The Naked Stampede

Chapter 32: Cascades of Pink Peaches

Chapter 33: Mother’s Day

Part V

Chapter 34: The Shimmering Girl

Chapter 35: Coming Undone

Chapter 36: The Body on the Mountain

Chapter 37: Twisted Ropes

Chapter 38: A Beckoning Whistle

Chapter 39: Daybreak




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