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

Laura Hillenbrand
(Official Website of Unbroken)

This book on Olympian-turned-World War II prisoner of war of the Japanese Louis Zamperini has been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for the past 34 weeks.

Of 1,472 readers who sent their reviews to Amazon 1,280 gave it the highest praise, five star.  (As of July 23, 2011)

"A master class in narrative storytelling…Extraordinarily moving...A powerfully drawn survival epic." --The Wall Street Journal

"Ambitious and powerful… Hillenbrand is intelligent and restrained, and wise enough to let the story unfold for itself. Her research is thorough, her writing crystalline. Unbroken is gripping in an almost cinematic way." -- The New York Times Book Review

In Her Own Words: NPR’s interview with Ms. Hillenbrand

November 20, 2010

Laura Hillenbrand has written two great big books about exceptional athletes and inspiring survivors that the world somehow managed to forget for a while. The first was Seabiscuit, the tale of the Depression-era racehorse.

Now she offers up the saga of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner who became an American airman — and whose true laurels were the result of trials, endurance and will far from any stadium.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption follows Zamperini as a bombardier during World War II. When a plane he is piloting disappears into the Pacific Ocean, years of starvation, imprisonment and brutality follow…
"Louis is definitely a hero," she says. "What he did for this country is something that really moves me. I don't, though, want to separate him from all the other men around him who did the same thing. They're all extraordinary. I want him to be representative of all of them, rather than somebody who stands apart from them."

Listen to the entire interview at  NPR Hillenbrand interview  

Message to Japanese people

Ms. Hillenbrand recently sent the following message to this website:

There were two things that compelled me to write "Unbroken." First, it tells one of the most extraordinary and unlikely true stories I have ever heard, a breathtaking tale of a World War II soldier's survival in the face of almost incomprehensible hardships and challenges. But this is so much more than a soldier's adventure. I saw this story as an opportunity to explore the forces within Japan, and America, that created the Second World War in the Pacific, and to bring understanding and healing to people on all sides of the conflict. Louis Zamperini's life is a testament to the power of forgiveness. I hope my readers in Japan, as well as those all over the world, will be inspired by it.

Movie and Translation

It has been reported that Universal Pictures is making this book into a feature film.
The book's translation rights have been sold to 23 foreign languages, but not Japanese.

Recent TV program on Mr. Zamperini

I met with Mr. Zamperini in 2003 myself. I was deeply moved when he asked me to help him meet the Japanese guard (Bird), who was cruel to him, so that Mr. Zamperini could tell this person that he had already forgiven him.

I hope that Unbroken will be translated into Japanese so that many people in Japan will be inspired by this remarkable story.

                                                                 (Kinue Tokudome)