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December 2010 Indie Next List
“Unbroken is a vivid story of Louis Zamperini who, as an athlete, ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and then became an airman when World War II broke out. When his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, he and two other crew members floated in a tiny raft across thousands of miles of ocean only to be rescued by the Japanese and placed in a POW camp. This book is about survival, emotional and physical endurance, hope, humor, and determination. An absolutely mesmerizing and incredible story.”
— Pam Clarke, Edgartown Books, Edgartown, MA
From Laura Hillenbrand, the best-selling author of Seabiscuit, comes a long-awaited new book that tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a runner whose prodigious talent carried him to the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Zamperini was the favorite for the one-mile race and was expected to break the 4-minute record, but he failed on both counts. He began training with the hopes of winning the gold in the following Olympics but the onset of WWII ended his dream. His will to live was sorely tested when his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Together with his friend and pilot Russell Allen Phil Phillips, he drifted in shark-infested waters on a tiny raft for 47 days only to be rescued and then captured by the Japanese. Louis was held captive at Omoriy Naoetsu, controlled by Mutsuhiro Watanabe, a brutal, pathological and sadist leader whose main satisfaction came from slowly torturing his victims, delaying the agony of death. Zamperini's unbreakable will was the only thing that kept him alive until he was rescued in the summer of 1945. He returned to his home in Torrence, California, impulsively married beautiful Cynthia Applewhite, and tried to build a new life. No longer captive, he was still, however, a prisoner, tormented by nightmares in which he was hunted by Watanabe. He suffered from PTSD, an illness unknown at the time, and drank heavily in an effort to block the memories. With Cynthia's help, Louis, now 91, has finally found his way back home. Hillenbrand brings to life an almost-forgotten story of heroism, cruelty, life, death, joy, and suffering. A #1 best-seller in the US for over eight months, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, and a story of resistance, survival, and redemption during WWII. It is, without a doubt, the book of 2011.
About the Author
Laura Hillenbrand has been writing about Thoroughbred racing since 1988 and has been a contributing writer/editor for "Equus" magazine since 1989. Her work has also appeared in "American Heritage, ABC Sports Online, The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Backstretch, Turf "and "Sport Digest" and many other publications. Her 1998 "American Heritage" article on Seabiscuit won the Eclipse Award for Magazine Writing, the highest award for Thoroughbred racing. She is currently serving as a consultant on a Universal Studios movie based on this book. Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Laura lives in Washington, D.C.
"From the Hardcover edition."