Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive

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The #1 New York Times bestseller, which is also a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie, has now been adapted by the author for young adults. Beautifully illustrated throughout, this riveting biography includes more than 100 black-and-white photos, as well as exclusive content, "In Conversation," with Laura Hillenbrand and Louie Zamperini.
“Every young person should have the chance to read this book. It’s easy to think, ...

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Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive

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The #1 New York Times bestseller, which is also a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie, has now been adapted by the author for young adults. Beautifully illustrated throughout, this riveting biography includes more than 100 black-and-white photos, as well as exclusive content, "In Conversation," with Laura Hillenbrand and Louie Zamperini.
“Every young person should have the chance to read this book. It’s easy to think, growing up, that bravery is for other people, who are simply born heroic. But nothing about Louis marked him out for greatness. He started out as a misfit and troublemaker, but became a great man because of his choices. His story shows that everyone has the potential to rise above obstacles. It is not where you start out in life that counts the most, it is how you choose to face it."—Angelina Jolie

On a May afternoon in 1943, an American military plane 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 sagas of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he had been a clever delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and stealing. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a supreme talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war came, the athlete became 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 sinking raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would respond to desperation with ingenuity, suffering with hope and humor, brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would hang on the fraying wire of his will.
In this captivating young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a man’s breathtaking odyssey and the courage, cunning, and fortitude he found to endure and overcome. Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred photographs and featuring an exclusive interview with Zamperini, Unbroken will introduce a new generation to one of history’s most thrilling survival epics.

Praise for Unbroken

"This adaptation of Hillenbrand's adult bestseller is highly dramatic and exciting, as well as painful to read as it lays bare man's hellish inhumanity to man."—Booklist, STARRED

"This captivating book emphasizes the importance of determination, the will to survive against impossible odds, and support from family and friends. A strong, well-written work."—School Library Journal

"This fine adaptation ably brings an inspiring tale to young readers."—Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2014

Olympic athlete turned World War II pilot Louis Zamperini survived more than a month spent boiling and starving on a life raft after he crashed into the Pacific ocean, only to be taken as a prisoner of war when he finally reached land. Hillenbrand’s breathtaking book of survival and perseverance sold in the millions and is coming to movie theaters Christmas Day—and now it’s available to teen readers in an adaptation that loses none of the original’s punch. See all of the Best Teen Books of 2014.

From the Publisher
“This adaptation of Hillenbrand’s adult best-seller is highly dramatic and exciting, as well as painful to read as it lays bare man’s hellish inhumanity to man.”—Booklist, STARRED

"This captivating book emphasizes the importance of determination, the will to survive against impossible odds, and support from family and friends. A strong, well-written work."—School Library Journal

"This fine adaptation ably brings an inspiring tale to young readers."—Kirkus Reviews

"A humdinger of a page-turner: a noble story about the courage of America's Greatest Generation, personified."—The Horn Book Review

VOYA, December 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 5) - Donna L. Phillips
A teller of tall tales could not improve the true story of Louis Zamperini. His odyssey takes him from quick-footed neighborhood thief in the Roaring Twenties to Olympic athlete in 1936, to forty-seven days aboard a life raft, to the brutality of more than two years as a Japanese prisoner of war (POW) during World War II. After the war, he marries, but it is not a “Greatest Generation” success story, at least not in the beginning. Suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and finding solace in alcohol, he winds up at a Billy Graham revival, where an equally grueling process of redemption begins. Hillenbrand’s young adult version of her award-winning adult title has shed nearly eighty pages but remains true to Louie’s story and its major subplots. She has judiciously removed some of the starkest horrors and sexual brutality of the Japanese POW camps, though enough remains for readers to glimpse the misery. With its breakneck pace and lean style, some adults may actually find this version more engaging. The teen revision arrives at an auspicious time. Zamperini died in July at age 97, and his inspiring story will be the subject of a film scheduled for release in December 2014. Get this one for teens who love war stories or great nonfiction. Get two copies—pass the second along to adult readers interested in the details of Louie’s story. Discussion materials with film tie-ins will be available for both texts. It is a strong contender for community reading initiatives across age groups. Reviewer: Donna L. Phillips; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
In response to requests from teachers and school librarians, Hillenbrand offers a young-readers' edition of her best-selling World War II tale of survival. Louis Zamperini grew up in California and was headed toward juvenile delinquency. He smoked at 5, drank at 8, and went on to stealing and pranking, until older brother Pete got Louis into something more productive: running. Louis eventually became a world-class runner, ultimately competing at the 1936 Olympics. With World War II looming, Louis joined the Army Air Corps, and it was with the downing of his B-24 bomber that his harrowing journey began. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean in a raft, attacked by sharks, brutalized as a POW in Japanese slave-labor camps, Louis' is a tale of survival against all odds. This solid adaptation is half the length of the original, more visual (with more, and sometimes larger, photographs), less descriptive and swifter paced, and it avoids such adult themes as the sexual sadism of evil Cpl. Watanabe, the man so intent on destroying Louis in the POW camp outside Tokyo. A fascinating appended interview with Louis Zamperini explores issues of survival and heroism. This fine adaptation ably brings an inspiring tale to younger readers. (notes, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Adapted from the best-selling adult book of the same name, this riveting account tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a thief turned track star, Olympian, airman, castaway, and prisoner of war. Born to Italian immigrants in 1917, Zamperini was heading down a path of crime (stealing, fighting) until his older brother Pete stepped in, encouraging him to join the track team. It wasn't long before Zamperini was winning every race, eventually going on to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The book details how the 1940 Olympics were canceled due to World War II and describes how Zamperini was drafted into the U.S. Air Force. Writing in a gripping, intense tone, Hillenbrand relates how tragedy struck when Zamperini's plane was shot down and he and two other men spent 47 days in a life boat in the Pacific Ocean, fighting sharks, starvation, and dehydration, before being captured by the Japanese navy as prisoners of war. More than 100 engaging photographs appear throughout. This captivating book emphasizes the importance of determination, the will to survive against impossible odds, and support from family and friends. This adaptation softens some of the harsh details of POW life found in the adult version and has shortened the book by about a third. Though this is a strong, well-written work, the adult version is accessible and engaging; students are better off sticking with the original.—Stephanie Farnlacher, Trace Crossings Elementary School, Hoover, AL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385742511
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/11/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 3,505
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Hillenbrand

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption and Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, won the Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, landed on more than fifteen best-of-the-year lists, and inspired the film Seabiscuit, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  She is serving as a consultant on the Universal Pictures feature film based on Unbroken. Hillenbrand’s New Yorker article, “A Sudden Illness,” won the National Magazine Award. Her work has also appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. She and actor Gary Sinise were cofounders of Operation International Children, a charity that provided school supplies to children through American troops. 


Laura Hillenbrand has been writing about history and Thoroughbred racing since 1988 and has been a contributing writer/editor for Equus magazine since 1989. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Talk, American Heritage, Reader's Digest, ABC Sports Online, The New York Post, The Week, Attache, The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Backstretch, and many other publications.

Her 1998 American Heritage article on Seabiscuit won the Eclipse Award for Magazine Writing, the highest journalistic award for Thoroughbred racing.

She served as a consultant on the Universal Pictures movie based on Seabiscuit as well as a PBS documentary on Seabiscuit's life. An alumna of Kenyon College, Laura lives in Washington, D.C.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Good To Know

Days after Hillenbrand's literary agent first put out a proposal for Seabiscuit to publishers in August 1998, a Hollywood producer called her to talk movie rights; she hadn't written a word of the book yet.

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    1. Hometown:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 15, 1967
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fairfax, Virginia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Kenyon College

Interviews & Essays

Barnes & Noble Review Interview with Laura Hillenbrand

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of two blockbuster bestsellers, 2001's Seabiscuit and 2010's Unbroken. A brilliant storyteller, she brings her books' subjects — Seabiscuit, a champion Depression-era racehorse, and Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who survived brutal treatment in a Japanese POW camp during World War II — vividly to life, an accomplishment that's all the more remarkable given that for more than twenty-five years she's suffered from a debilitating case of chronic fatigue syndrome that's left her largely confined to her home. Delacorte Press has now published this young adult version of Unbroken, which includes the last interview Hillenbrand conducted with Zamperini before his death in July. I spoke to Hillenbrand by phone about adapting the book for young readers, working with director Angelina Jolie on the film version, and continuing to speak out about her illness. — Barbara Spindel

The Barnes & Noble Review: I reviewed Unbroken for the B&N Review upon its release in 2010, and I remember it well — Louie's story leaves an indelible impression. When I read the young adult version in preparation for our interview, it didn't strike me as very different.

Laura Hillenbrand: No, it's really not.

BNR: I noticed some places where you might explain a reference — like when Louie was forced to shave his prison guards, you write that he gave one particularly cruel guard eyebrows like Marlene Dietrich's, and you explain that she was a movie star with famously slender, feminine eyebrows. And the new version is shorter. But overall I didn't feel like I was reading a YA book, which suggests to me that you were confident that young readers could handle the difficulty of the material. Can you talk about your approach to adapting the manuscript?

LH: I don't have children myself and I don't have a whole lot of experience with kids, and I was very mindful of that going in. I wanted to be sure that I learned from people who did know what they were doing. And so I talked to a number of teachers and middle school and elementary school librarians and some parents. I had questions like how graphic can I get in terms of what happened to Louie because of course some of the things that happened to him are quite brutal. I expected to get diverse opinions, but I didn't. I got an almost unanimous response that young readers are really ready for that kind of thing. They're studying things like the death of Emmett Till, a lot of tough things. So I really didn't tone it down. I did shorten some scenes, just because this needed to be shorter. But I pretty much left in everything that happened to Louie.

There was one thing I took out, and that was another point of unanimity among the young reader experts, and that was the death of the duck Gaga, who was sexually violated by one of the prison guards. That was very painful for a lot of adults — I'd gotten a lot of feedback about that — and Louie said it was the worst thing he witnessed in the war. I thought of myself as a kid and I thought, that would be too hard for me because I love animals so much. Pretty much everything else stayed in.

BNR: Whose idea was it to publish a YA version?

LH: I started thinking about it because I was seeing other authors doing it. It was important to me that this story be known to young people. Louie was very devoted to teaching kids and to helping them be inspired about their lives and understanding how much potential they carry within themselves. He had this children's camp that he ran, and he often spoke to kids. I had the idea and contacted him, and he was thrilled. I think it was the audience he wanted to reach more than anybody else. So we talked quite a bit about it and we did the interview for the end of it, which was the last interview I ever did with him. The things he had to say to young readers were great.

BNR: As a child, Louie wasn't that promising. He was constantly getting into trouble, so the way he turned himself around and overcame extreme adversity might be of interest to kids, too.

LH: He's not this model child that nobody can identify with. He was a kid with a lot of troubles, with very low self-esteem. He was bullied, he went through a lot of hard things, and I think a lot of young readers can say, "You know, that looks like me," and then they can see "if this guy came from the place I am now, and look what he made of his life, look what he got through," I think it's going to be inspiring for young people. I really hope it is.

BNR: Was it difficult to make the cuts, or did you have an instinct about the appropriate length?

LH: I thought that cutting it in half was about right, and my editors agreed. I was a little concerned it might still be kind of long, but they were not concerned about that, and I didn't feel that I could shorten his story any more than that. It felt right in the end, and when I finally got the printed copy, it looked right to me. I kept taking myself back to when I was 13 or so reading books — would I have picked up this book and read it? What impression would I have had of it? — and the size of it seemed about right.

BNR: The YA version has more photographs than the original, and some of the new images, like of a dead American POW and two emaciated POWs, are quite disturbing. What was your thinking behind including them?

LH: That was a big decision. When I was doing the research, I was coming across images like that and I didn't know whether I should use them or not, especially the one of the prisoner of war who was dead leaning over into the sink. It's probably the most disturbing photo I've ever seen of the Pacific war. But it was also very moving to me because I felt this captures exactly what these men went through. And you can talk about it in words, but there's something about an image that shows you this is real, this really happened. I wanted to include it because I wanted to honor the man in it, and I wanted to truly convey to young readers what the history is here. I put a post up on my private Facebook page — I have a lot of friends who are parents — and I said, "I have an image that I want to use, and I don't know if it's too harsh for young people, and I'd really like the input of parents. If you write me privately I'll send you the picture and you can tell me what you think." Sixty or seventy people responded, and I think maybe one person said don't include it, and everyone else said do. They all felt it would illuminate the story for young readers and stay in their minds.

I remember when I used to read books at that age, the images were very important to me. When I was a kid I had a copy of Life magazine's, I believe it was the 40th anniversary, a book they made of some of their best images, and I spent hours and hours going through these pictures. Some were terribly arresting and disturbing, but they also gave me a real sense of history. There were a lot of pictures from World War II and some from Vietnam, and those images are kind of tagged in my mind in terms of how I think about those periods of history. I think it was important to me in becoming a historian to have looked at pictures like that when I was younger. So I made the decision to include it. I hope it was the right choice.

BNR: How did it feel to go back to this material? I assume that you thought you were done writing about Louie's life.

LH: I had a great time working on this. I liked having the challenge of telling the same story with more concision. The hunt for photographs was what took the most time with it. I was working with someone else, David Mackintosh, on this, and we were searching for pictures of all kinds, B-24s and POWs and all kinds of things. He went and archived about a thousand of Louie's private photographs at his house.

BNR: I loved those photographs.

LH: I learned more about Louie's story that way. I saw pictures I'd never seen before. It was difficult to narrow the pictures down to the right number — I think we have about 110 in there — and to think about what pictures would most capture a young mind. I really enjoyed the process. I recommend anybody who writes a nonfiction book and thinks that the subject is applicable to young readers — do it. It's wonderful to open up nonfiction to young readers who usually stick to fiction. I hope that they will read more nonfiction because there's a lot of great stuff out there.

BNR: Did you get the sense that many young readers were reading the book in its original form?

LH: Yes, a lot. It's being taught in schools all over the place, and I did, via telephone, appearances at these schools and got to talk to these kids who were reading it, usually 11th and 12th graders. That was a big help to me in working on this book. With several of the schools I asked the students to submit questions to me to ask Louie for the interview I was going to run in the YA edition, and I got questions from lots of young people. I was able to take those and look for the things they consistently asked about and formulate questions from there. The questions I ask are really young people's questions, not mine.

BNR: Well, you knew everything about him already!

LH: Yeah. And I'm 47. I don't have the mind of a 13-year-old.

BNR: Is it a coincidence that the YA version is being published just as the movie is being released?

LH: It sort of is. It was the next thing I moved on to when I was done with the book in the adult form. I think they were working to get the publication date around the movie, so it's sort of a semi-coincidence. Even without the movie it would have come out more or less around this time.

BNR: Angelina Jolie directed the movie, and she's one of the biggest celebrities in the world. I wonder if it's strange for you, after several years of "Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken," to now see references to "Angelina Jolie's Unbroken." It's probably hard to feel proprietary toward the story once someone like Angelina Jolie becomes linked to it.

LH: You know, I'm happy about all of that. It's been a great experience. I never owned this story. It doesn't belong to me; it belonged to Louie. It's his life, and I was so happy to pass it off to Angelina. She is so fanatically devoted to getting it right and honoring Louie and the truth of his life. Once I started talking to her, I was absolutely confident she was going to do a great job. So it really isn't weird. She's a wonderful person, such a sweet, kind person. We started to talk about how we felt like sisters working on this. We were carrying on his legacy, and so I feel a great kinship with her. I'm just very happy that she's the one who's done it.

BNR: You've seen the movie, right? What was it like for you to see scenes you'd written brought to life on film?

LH: It is a surreal experience — and I had it before with my first book, Seabiscuit — to be watching the screen and to see actors saying lines that are quotations that I got from sources or doing things that I learned from the research I'd done. It is a very strange experience, but it's also really thrilling. The movie opens with the air battle over Nauru, and it is absolutely breathtaking and so exciting. It was just what I was trying to convey in print. It was also thrilling because Jack O'Connell, who plays Louie, absolutely got him right. That is Louie up there on the screen. All of his electricity and alacrity and his fire and his defiance and his sweetness and his humor — it's all there. Jack went to visit Louie before shooting the movie, and Louie brought out his military uniform and he put it on Jack, and it was a perfect fit. That's become kind of a metaphor. Angie picked the right actor.

BNR: As you said, you've now had both of your books turned into films. Were the experiences different in terms of the process or how involved you were?

LH: I was involved with both of them as a consultant. With Seabiscuit it was more in terms of helping them verify facts. It was a great script, and I really loved the movie. I was much more deeply involved with this project. Angie really wanted me to be more central. We had a lot of epic phone conversations about Louie and the war and the parts of the story that were so difficult to tell, how to get the whole story into two hours, which is the hardest thing that she had to face. Angelina was so devoted to getting every single little detail correct that they needed to call on me a lot. The first call I got, I think it was directly from Angie, was they wanted to know what the track uniforms for the high schools around Louie's high school would have looked like because they wanted to get exactly the right uniforms on the rival runners when they showed him running in high school. And I was like, "I saw some pictures, but honestly it was years ago, and I don't remember." But I was so impressed at that question. Most people would be like, "Oh, you can put in anything, it doesn't matter," but she was like, "No, he ran against a kid from Bell High School, and I want to know exactly what a 1932 Bell High School uniform looked like." I didn't know the answer, but she hunted it down, and all those uniforms you see when he's running in high school, they're exactly right. And that's true of everything.

BNR: Would you ever be interested in adapting your own work for the screen?

LH: I think that might be something best left to people who are experts at it because there's a real art to that. It's a very different thing than writing straight narrative. It's also something I was warned about when I was first getting into Seabiscuit and we were talking about its movie prospects. I kind of wondered aloud to somebody, should I be thinking about making this into a screenplay myself? And the person I talked to said that she had known several people who had tried to do that with their own work, with novelsand with nonfiction, and it was a horrible experience. When you write your own book, you're entirely in control of what you write. When you write a screenplay, there are a million people in control of what you write and it's not going to come out the way you write it. It's going to be changed and changed and changed. That would probably drive me crazy. But mostly I would want it in the hands of somebody who really knows what they're doing. The Coen brothers wrote [the Unbroken screenplay]. I certainly wouldn't say, "The Coen brothers shouldn't do this — I should!" I thought they did very creative, interesting things with a very, very difficult story to tell onscreen because it's so big.

BNR: There's so much interest in your illness and how it affects your research and writing process, in part because of that contrast of you writing these very big, sweeping stories while confined to your home. Are you pleased with this interest, because it brings attention to a misunderstood and often maligned condition, or are you simply resigned to the interest, or are you uncomfortable with it — or none of the above?

LH: That's a really good question because I do have mixed feelings about it. I had to make a decision when Seabiscuit came out, you know, do I talk about this publicly or not? At the time it was much earlier in the course of my illness — I'd been sick a long time, but I've been sick much longer now. And it was a lot fresher in my mind how horribly I'd been treated when I first got sick. I was treated with a great deal of contempt and a lot of doubt. So I was afraid of going out in public and being mocked and dismissed and that kind of thing. But on the other hand, no one had been very prominent speaking about this disease, and it was a disease that really needed some public understanding, so I decided okay, I'm going to just bite my lip and talk about it, and whatever people think is what they're going to think. I ended up writing a huge piece for The New Yorker that actually took me a whole year to write. I went on 20/20 and talked about my illness, and the next morning there were some radio hosts in Chicago making a big joke of it. It's hard, and it's hard to be thought of as a disease and little else, to be the sick girl when I'm so much else, especially now, because I'm much healthier than I used to be. But it has helped a lot to educate the public, and we've needed that so badly. I am glad to have done it even though it's been hard.

BNR: Well, online comment sections are not generally known as compassionate spaces, but the comments on the recent piece about you in the New York Times Magazine were, by and large, supportive and grateful to you for speaking out. Did you read them?

LH: I read some of them, and that's really nice to see. When I wrote Seabiscuit I was much more sensitive, so if somebody wrote something nasty, you know, "I think she's faking or a hypochondriac" or whatever, that would really get under my skin. Now people can write whatever they want and I feel like that person doesn't know who I am, and I don't need to worry about this. There were a few people who said some nasty things, but it doesn't bother me at all. It is really nice to see the atmosphere changed. It wasn't very long ago Jay Leno was calling this "the yuppie flu" on The Tonight Show. This disease was a joke, and this disease is a disaster. When it gets you badly, it takes everything from you. I've been bedridden probably a total of six years. For two years when I was working on Unbroken I didn't leave the house once because I wasn't strong enough to walk to my car. It's a terrible disease, and it's very difficult to be joked about or treated with contempt when you're suffering this badly.

BNR: Louis Zamperini died in July at age 97. Given that he was elderly when you began researching Unbroken, I imagine that it's incredibly gratifying for you that he not only lived to see the book published and become a bestseller but lived long enough to see at least parts of the movie.

LH: I feel like he died right when he realized that his legacy was truly being carried on, which is what he wanted. I didn't meet him over the whole course of the time I was working on the book, but I did meet him after I was done. He came to visit, and we had this wonderful time together, and when I walked him back out to his car, I knew I was never going to see him again, that it was very unlikely. And he gave me this big hug, and he said, "I want to tell you, Laura, I understand now why I've lived so long, and it was to see you write this book. And I feel that in writing it you've brought me to the crescendo of my life." I was fighting back tears, and hugged him goodbye, and went back and sat on my front porch and cried. It was the most moving thing anybody's ever said to me. It meant so much, and I know that when Angelina started working on the movie and he got to see how devoted she was to getting it right, he started to feel a lot of peace about how his story was being carried on. And he did get to see, not 100 percent of the movie but a whole lot of it. Angelina went to what turned out to be his deathbed in the hospital, and she brought her laptop and set it up on his lap and played the movie for him. It was a rough cut, but it was getting near to being finished. She said he had a pulse oximeter on him. He couldn't talk then, but his mind was clear, and when he would see his family on the screen or see himself running, his heart would beat faster. She was so gratified by that. He was able to convey that he was really thrilled with what she'd done. I think he felt that his life was now really complete and it was time for him to step away. He was not afraid of death. He almost, I think, looked forward to it because he felt he was going to be going to a paradise. I think he felt, "Okay, my work here is done. I'm ready to go."

BNR: You've said that you have an idea for your next book, but you're not yet saying what it is.

LH: My publicist doesn't even know! I've told pretty much nobody. I need to do more preliminary research to know whether this is something that is going to pan out for me, but I think it will. But I'm going to keep it secret for a while. I like to work in privacy. I don't want anyone else to take the idea either, because I'm slow.

BNR: Do you go into the process with any expectations of how long the project will take and whether you'll be well enough to do any work on it outside of your home, or do you just begin and see how things progress as you go along?

LH: I'll just see how it goes. I try to live in the moment with my work. I try not to give myself expectations of when to get it done because I never know. It will take as long as it takes. I will work until I feel the research is truly complete and the writing is as good as I can make it, and then I'll turn it in. I try not to attach myself to how it will do or anything like that. I will just write to tell the story the best way I possibly can and then send it into the world and be at peace with it that way.

December 29, 2014

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 8, 2015

    Awesome The book Unbroken, written by Laura Hillenbrand, is abo


    The book Unbroken, written by Laura Hillenbrand, is about a man named Louis Zamperini and his amazing story. It begins with describing Louis as a kid and how he joins the track team and flourishes going on to run in college and in the Olympics. He is then drafted by the Air Force to fight in World War II where he is stationed in Hawaii and is a bombardier. On a mission he gets shot down and survives on an inflatable raft and is then captured by the Japanese and put in a POW camp for around two and half years. His camp is eventually liberated and he returns to the US struggling with PTSD but when he finds God, is cured of his sickness and troubles. The major themes in this book have to be perseverance and determination. Louis is tortured in a POW camp for over two and half years, being starved and worked like a slave. He showed that his perseverance and determination are the only reasons that he was able to survive when so few did. He also shows this in his track career where he shows that his determination to train and get better paid off in the big races. What I liked the most about this book is the fact that I can relate to Louis. Even though I’ve never been thrown into a POW camp or survived on an inflatable raft for forty days, my main claim about my personality and who I am is my tenacity. Louis obviously shows tenacity in everything that he does and this helped me become interested in his story and how he survived these terrible and trying situations. What I liked least about this book though is that the author tended to drag on about certain subjects. I think the reason that she did this was to add emphasis to the current situation but eventually, I got bored with all of the examples and explanations that she gave. This book is simply a must read. This book overall is extremely well written and engages the reader tremendously. I’m not usually a big reader, I find it hard to sit down with a book and read it for a couple hours but this book kept me entertained through the entire story. This book inspired me to be more tenacious in what I do but also put some perspective on my troubles. The most I have to deal with is when I get a lot of homework or have a hard practice at track, compared to the pain and suffering that all of these POW’s and their families went through, I’m thankful that I have hardly any worries in my life. I would give this book a five out of five stars easily and look forward to reading other books written by Laura Hillenbrand including Seabiscuit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2015


    This was an excellent book! Being a veteran myself in the 80's I was very interested to read about the military from back then. But what was more interesting, was the details in his life from childhood to his return home from being POW. It gives you a new found respect for the veterans for every war that has gone on! Everyone should read this book! Our soldiers have really given their lives, and even if they return home this book will really explain what they have gone through.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2014

    Great Book! Couldn't put it down.

    Another great book by Hillenbrand. I can't wait to see the movie. I hope the movie stays true to the events as they happened to Louie Zamperini. What a great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2015

    Great book!

    It is almost impossible to belive that after 2 years in a POW camp being tortured he would forgive his opressors WOW! What a guy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2015


    Great story of survival and overcoming extreme hardship that leads to PTSD. Zamperini then finds the strenghth through faith and love to better his crumbling postwar war-hero life and put his traumatic experiences behind him, living an astonishing life. Inspirational and a must read!

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  • Posted March 1, 2015

    A Treasure

    Life is worth living. Long live Louie Zamparini.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2015

    A geat book

    A great book for young adulty

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  • Posted February 2, 2015

    Great Book

    While I didn't realize that I was reading the Young Adult Adaptation until I was asked to do this review, this book was an incredibly interesting read about an experience during WWII. I had no idea these things happened....horrible. It was a great book about one persons amazing experience and how they persevered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2015

    As a child, Louie was quite scandalous. But overtime he grew up

    As a child, Louie was quite scandalous. But overtime he grew up to be a soldier. Louis Zamperini was one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time. He ran record breaking times and miles at 4 minutes! However, the young athlete joined the military when World War 2 began. He served as a bombardier in the air force. On the day of May, 1943 the Green Hornet crashed in the Pacific and only three people from his crew survived: Phil, Mac and himself. Sadly, Mac dies. Stuck at sea for forty-six days, when a Japanese navy plane spotted and captured them. They were brought to a terrible POV camp in Naoetsu where they were starved and beaten. A sadistic Japanese guard, who the people referred to as the Bird, punishes them brutally, especially Louis. Even though he's a famous athlete, the Japanese wouldn't care less for him. Throughout every situation Louis faces and suffers, he doesn't let anything or anyone crush him. Will Louie survive the war? Will he make it out of the camp alive? Laura Hillenbrand demonstrates a story of a man's fortitude and inner strength. She shows how a man deals with tough situations and atrocious challenges by giving all that he has. For example, "He felt his consciousness slipping, his mind losing adhesion, until all he knew was a single thought: He cannot break me" (302). This quote showed Louis' inner strength when the Bird ordered him to lift a wooden beam. Louis was frail and his body was weak. But despite his poor condition, he kept the beam up proving that he can do this and nothing can destroy him.
    I admire Louis' determination. For instance, he puts everything he has into his racing. For instance, "He burst through, blew past the race leader, and with his shoe torn open, shins streaming blood, and chest aching, won easily" (44). This was when the other athletes were attacking him on the track. As you can see, even before he was captured, he didn't let anyone shatter him. Louis could've fought the athletes but instead he ran towards the finish line. He strive for something he knew was worth his effort. If there is one thing I dislike about this novel, it would be character, Bird. I dislike his cruel personality. Like when he punished the men by giving them "two-hundred punches". There were some men who stole fish from the galley and the Bird pulled out others, including Louie, to join the thieves in their punishment. He the thieves punched in the face 220 times by the other men. Man by man, the Bird forced them to keep punching while screaming "Next! Next! Next!" (295). His actions portray his hideous and vicious character. One last thing that I like about Louis is when he was in the Pacific with the men. He was deciding whether he should swim after the raft because he knows that if he doesn't go after it they would all be doomed (131). This shows how he can make good decisions under-pressure. I would really recommend this novel because it tells a very inspirational story of courage and inner-strength. Louis' strength and actions taught us to never give up for what is worth it, even if you have to give it your all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2015

    Best book ever.

    I love it. The book changed my life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2015


    Good movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2015

    Good survival skills


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2015


    This book left me speechless! Thank you Louie!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2015



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2015

    Unbelievable survival story

    I read a lot of books but this was probably the best story I have ever read. I've read a lot of survival stories as well but how many people survive 4 things that would easily break and eventually kill our spirit and end our life? This is a book well written. The author does a great job telling this man's unbelievable true story. I seriously would read this book over and over again. This book is a page turner. I loved it so much that I went and saw the movie. Although the movie was not able to fit everything the book tells, it does give you more to the imagination of what he actually went through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2015

    Appreciated gift

    Given to my Grandson as a gift; he was looking forward to receiving it. Interested in hero war stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2015

    Great adaptation of an adult book

    My 6th grade grandson read it and we will see the movie soon. Great book report and a project for him to write about both.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2014

    Epic story of survival

    Thhe story its self was great but the writing wasn't the best,that was probaly because i read the young adult version. THe writing was still great. The picutures were amazing and realy gave you a good image of what it would realy be like. I also saw the movie it was pretty good but of course left out some parts. Over all the book and the movie are great and l recomend if you already haven't read book thief to read it ,great book

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  • Posted December 12, 2014


    I'd read the original version of UNBROKEN years ago. Some of the scenes were so intense, I had to put the book down for awhile. After I finished, I gave the book to my Dad, a WWII veteran in his 90's. He stayed up all nite and read the book in a day! I bought this Young Adult adaptation for my great-nephew. I enjoyed all the photos and the interview of Louis Zamperini and the author, Laura Hillenbrand, that I don't remember having been in the original book. I'm looking forward to giving this version to my great-nephew and then talking with him about it later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews

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