Hillenbrand, Laura

  13 Reviews

From a delinquent adolescence to being the youngest distance runner in the Berlin Olympics, American Louis Zamperini was destined for a life of adventure. When his plane was shot down over the Pacific in 1943 while serving as an airman, what followed was a truly amazing story. Surviving 47 days marooned on a raft, existence in a Japanese P.O.W. and then back stateside for the challenges of post traumatic stress disorder, Zamperini's life is distinguished by his unfailing determination to endure.

Not only is this a courageous story of attitude trumping circumstances but a unique insight into the wartime experiences of American soldiers serving in the Pacific arena.

Comments from Groups

This was an inspiring, well researched and written book that all of us thoroughly enjoyed. Despite the harrowing details, the author managed to keep us riveted to his life. Auckland 085

We all thought the book was descriptive, well written and easy to read. Although we were inspired by Zamperini's courage and resilience, a couple of our readers could not finish the book as they found the cruelty overpowering. Tauranga 023

All found the book riveting. People don't learn from history! Sutherlands 001

This book was incredible! We all totally loved it. He was an amazing guy and it opened our eyes to a part of history most of us knew very little about. Most of the group have now bought their own copy to keep. Several husbands read and enjoyed it too. Christchurch 099

Most found it very enlightening - particularly those who were born post 1945. Discussion was very interesting - for most the prison camp atrociities were an eye opener. Napier 023

An amazingly detailed account of one man's experience in WW II and his pre-war athletics and recovery after the war. Insights into an amazing life. Tauranga 018



CHCH 194
Such an amazing triumph of resilience from so many horrendous acts of cruelty, torture and adversity, yet he sustains himself for what feels like forever. We felt the book was incredibly well written to be able to continue revealing more depth to his character and the different stages of his life. Yet again - the horrors and futility of war.
CHCH 537
Very mixed, a couple of people couldn't finish it due to the gruesome and terrible things done that were described in the book.
AUCK 307
A well-written book about outstanding resilience - received high praise from the whole group. Some found the war prison camps difficult to read about at times.
Much discussion about the gripping writing and superb research that made this book what it is. We were very interested to learn of the high number of air crashes ( non combat) and no treatment for post traumatic stress disorder after the war. Very small font was a problem with this book.
Very robust discussion around him as a person. Some of us found it difficult reading about their internment in the hands of the Japanese - so cruel.
WELL 202
The whole group found 'Unbroken' an engrossing read.
Fabulous book.
GORE 009
Awesome book. We've read it before, but couldn't put it down.
Some of our ladies were reluctant to read this book - saying "It's a man's book, or there are cruel bits in it". But once we started reading it, most of us couldn't put it down until it was finished. Probably the best read we've had so far.
A compelling read - meticulously researched and very well-written. For many it was the first they had read of the war in the Pacific, and the experiences of US servicemen in WWII.
What an amazing story and a remarkable man. Loved all the stats that the author included within the story.
RICH 010
Our group enjoyed this book and felt that Hillenbrand's writing gave a good perspective on the harrowing details of the inhumanity of war. Her non-judgemental writing helped us, as readers, to cope with the unthinkable horrors of war and to recognise the uniqueness of Zamperini's survival instincts and resilience. We would love to see more introspection in Zamperini's account but feel that that would be a another book from another time. The lack of psychological depth was very much in keeping with the period; when PTSD was simply dismissed as cowardice.
A hard read, but appreciated by all. Great discussions. Not all finished the book.