Book Club Kit: Unbroken


Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken:  a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
By Laura Hillenbrand
First Published: 2010
10 copies & Reading Guide

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.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Brief Synopsis, Author Information, Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Kirkus Reviews
New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

On the web:
Official Author Website
Unbroken (Film) – Release date December 25, 2014
Interview with Louis Zamperini on CBS Sunday Morning:


If you enjoyed Unbroken, you also might like:
Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian’s Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II By Louis Zamperini
My Private War: Liberated Body, Captive Mind: A World War II POW’s Journey by Norman Bussel
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley

Did you enjoy Unbroken? Shall your thoughts in the comments below.


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