69 pages 2 hours read

Laura Hillenbrand


Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2010

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Teacher Introduction

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

  • Genre: Nonfiction; biography; war history
  • Originally Published: 2010
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1010L; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: Approximately 528 pages; audiobook length approximately 13 hours and 56 minutes
  • Central Concern: The book chronicles the life of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star, who served as an airman in World War II. After his bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, he and two other crew members drifted on a raft for over a month, covering thousands of miles, only to be captured by the Japanese navy and subjected to brutal treatment as prisoners of war. The story is a testament to human resilience, endurance, and the indomitable spirit in the face of immense adversity.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Graphic descriptions of wartime violence; depictions of torture, starvation, and abuse in prisoner-of-war camps; post-traumatic stress and the psychological aftermath of war; occasional inclusion of derogatory or offensive language related to mental health problems and Japanese people

Laura Hillenbrand, Author

  • Bio: Born 1967; American author and journalist; known for her impeccable research and detailed historical narratives; suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, which affected her work process but also drove her to explore stories of human endurance
  • Other Works: Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001; also a major bestseller and adapted into a film)
  • Awards: The American Library Association’s Award for Notable Books for Adults (2012)