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OBOS discussion scheduled for Wednesday, March 13th at 7PM in the High School Library!

Call Joyce or Patty to reserve a spot:
215-233-6030 Ext. 2501 or 2502 or email:



OBOS Community Discussion for Unbroken

Join us March 13 @ 7PM in the High School Library.

Publisher's description:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber 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 odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become 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 foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.


More Information

Learn more about Unbroken and Laura Hillenbrand at

Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the critically acclaimed Seabiscuit: An American Legend, which spent 42 weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, in hardcover and paperback. Seabiscuit was finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 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. According to Newsweek, Seabiscuit is the best-selling sports book in history.

Discussion Questions

1. Readers and critics alike have described Unbroken as gripping, almost impossible to put down. Was that your experience as well? How do you account for the page-turning quality given the grim subject material? Also, would your reading experience have been different if you didn't know that Zamperini survived? (Or didn't you know the outcome?)

2.  What do you admire most about Zamperini? What enables him to survive the plane crash and POW ordeal? Does he possess special strengths—personal or physical? Did his training in track, for instance, make a difference in his resilience?

3.  How do the POW captives help one another survive? How are they able to communicate with one another? What devices do Zamperini and others use not only to survive but to maintain sanity?

4. Does this book make you wonder at mankind's capacity for cruelty? What accounts for it—especially on the part of the Japanese, a highly cultured and civilized society? (The same question, of course, has been applied to the Nazis.)

5. Hillenbrand devotes time to the difficulty of veterans' re-entering life after the war. She says, "there was no one right way to peace; each man had to find his own path." What is Zamperini's path? How does his conversion under Billy Graham help him? What role does his wife, Cynthia, play?

Questions courtesy of

Online articles relating to the book

From the University of Maryland LibGuide:


Here are links to some of the important articles about the book. You'll recognize the local newspapers--Washington Post and Baltimore Sun--as well as the national magazines--Jet, Ebony, and Rolling Stone

The Defiant Ones

This is from The Wall Street Journal and talks about Mr. Zamperini's olympic career as well as his Army career

Enduring All Tests, Time Included

This article is the account of all the research that went into writing Laura Hillenbrand's novel "Unbroken"

Laura Hillenbrand releases book while fighting Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Laura Hillenbrand fights through the crippling pain of CFS and writes two best-selling novels.

Laura Hillenbrand's Acclaimed Bestsellers Haven't Changed Her

Laura talks in this article about how her success has not changed the way she lives her life

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Reviews and related sites

Reviews of the Book:

Washington Times (

Los Angeles Times


Barnes And Noble


Honors And Awards For Unbroken



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