Author: Laura Hillenbrand

Title: Unbroken: a World War II airman’s story of survival, resilience and redemption

Genre: Non-Fiction, History

Publication Date: November 16th, 2010

Number of Pages: 496

Geographical Setting: United States, Japan

Time Period: 1943

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary: As a teenager, Louis Zamperini was a juvenile delinquent; stealing food from neighbors’s houses and making homemade explosives. It wasn’t until his older brother Louie encouraged him to try out for track in high school that Louie found his true calling; running. In fact he competed in the 1936 Olympics and dreamed of attending the Berlin Olympics a few years later. World War II broke out and Louie joined the air corps as a lieutenant. While overseas on a rescue mission, an engine died and Zamperini along with with men plummet towards the Pacific Ocean. For 47 days Louie and 3 other men attempt to survive and are rescued and thrown into a typhoon in Japan. Subjected to starvation, slave labor and unimaginable torture, Louie learns how to preserve his dignity in the most extreme circumstances.

Subject Headings: Auto-Biography, World War II, Biography, Japanese POW,

Appeal: Bravery, Strength, Track, Dignity, Hope, World War II, Redemption, Family, Courage, Loss, Plane, 42nd Bombardment Squadron, Green Hornet, Naoetsu, Travel, Long Distance Runners, History, Triumph

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Defiance, World War II and Survival

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Ghost Soliders: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission by Hampton Sides. Ghost Soldiers is a story of what the human spirit can endure and what good men are willing to do for men they’ve never met. Hand selected US tropps slip behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Heir mission is to rescue 513 POWs and some of the last survivors of the infamous Bataaan Death March. The book is full of first-hand accounts and quotes from the prisoners and the men who rescued them. This is a great book about a remarkable moment in American history. It shows, in a very dramatic way, how much suffering a man can endure, and the lengths that soldiers will go to do the right thing.

Masters of the Air by Donald L. Miller. A riveting account of courageous men and boys who became victims of World War II in Europe. Miller discusses the experience using oral history interview of surviving airman and civilians as well as letters and unpublished diaries to tell this compelling novel. Readers will enjoy the first hand accounts of the stories both told from the air and on the ground.

Escape from Davao: The Forgotten Story of a Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War by John D. Lukacs. This novel is a fast pace, real life story told through the eyes of the man who experienced the heartbreak, anguish and devastating effects a soldier endures as a POW during World War II. The book is emotionally taxing leaving you to question  your own  fortitude and courage should you ever have to face such a personal crisis.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Wings: a novel of World War II fly girls by Karl Friedrich. Based on true events during World War II this novel tells the story of America’s first female military pilots. Following a young Texas woman named Sally Ketchum, this historical book shares her triumphs, her loses and the friendships she has along the way of fulfilling her duties as a service pilot. She also becomes involved with her flight instructor who seems to offer everything her heart could desire. This novel will grab your attention from beginning to end and will make you feel proud to be a woman in the service.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Sisters pearl Chin and May live in Shanghai and are among the prettiest woman in their city. Both girls are married but refuse to leave with their husbands to a California. Suddenly Shanghai is bombed and their father is nowhere to be found. The girls and their mother join several other refugees but along the way to Hong Kong devastating things happen including the loss of their mother. Realizing that the United States may be their only option, the girls are reunited with their spouses and try to blend among the Chinese district in Los Angeles.

  Strenght in What Remains by Tracy Kidder. A young man from Burundi is running for his life. For the last 6 months he has been trying to escape the violence in his country before running to the United States. Once he arrives in New York City, he only has $200 and doesn’t speak a word of English. Attempting to survive a new cultural as he tries to make sense of his harrowing escape, he makes the US his new home by graduating from Columbia University and becoming an American citizen. This gripping story of survival will leave its reader on the edge of their seat, holding their breath at every page turn and the hope and determination that one man had to be the best citizen he could be.

Name: Caitlin


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