"Seabiscuit" author Laura HIllenbrand today released her followup novel, "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption," to wild praise from critics. What's so great about the author's new book? See what the critics have to say:
No one delivers a play-by-play better than Laura Hillenbrand, author of the bestselling "Seabiscuit," in which she conveyed the split-second thrills of horse racing to even the most unsporting of readers. No other author of narrative nonfiction chooses her subjects with greater discrimination or renders them with more discipline and commitment. If storytelling were an Olympic event, she'd medal for sure, assuming her rightful spot next to Stephen King and J.K. Rowling.
"Incredible" and "unbelievable" are words that keep coming to mind during "Unbroken," Laura Hillenbrand's horror-by-horror account of the sufferings Louis Zamperini endured during World War II.
Just as she demonstrated in "Seabiscuit," Ms. Hillenbrand is a muscular, dynamic storyteller, never using an ordinary verb when a "teeming," "buffeted" or "porpoising" will do. Her command of the action-adventure idiom is more than enough to hold interest. But she happens also to have located a tale full of unforgettable characters, multi-hanky moments and wild turns. And if some of it sounds too much like pulp fiction to be true, Ms. Hillenbrand has also done a bang-up research job.
But Zamperini's story has a legitimate claim as one of the most remarkable - and appalling - to emerge from those perilous times. Sometimes the publisher's press release doesn't need to exaggerate.
Hillenbrand is a better writer than a lot of historians and biographers. At times her prose even veers toward the poetic. But she's still a historian, and she gives this story a chronological structure that frankly gets a little plodding (you have to wade through 130 pages of Zamperini's childhood before his bomber crashes and the plot kicks in).